CDU leader Friedrich Merz was clearly in defense of “Maischberger”. The moderator also had to correct it once.
In the energy crisis, Merz suddenly finds himself in the camp of climate activists
Greta Thunberg again. When she wants to use it for her claim, Maischberger intervenes: The Swede didn’t say it.
Greta Thunberg can only be seen on “Maischberger” on Wednesday. The taped interview with the Swedish climate activist caused a stir the day before and put Friedrich Merz in an unusual but probably very welcome situation. “How long should the life of German nuclear power plants be extended?” the hostess asked the leader of the CDU. “The way Greta Thunberg sees it, at least until the end of 2024,” Merz replied. However, Sandra Maischberger couldn’t let this unusual political crossover stand.
Thunberg did not provide a date when he asked for an extension of the deadline, the moderator stressed: “I know because I did the interview.” “I think it is essential by the end of 2024”, Merz later clarified.
Maischberger became curious. “How many times have you agreed with Greta Thunberg?” the moderator wanted to know. “Not that often, but gladly in this case,” admitted the opposition leader in the German Bundestag.
The electoral defeat of his party in Lower Saxony was less pleasant for Merz. He called it a “setback”. “Of course I was involved in these state elections. I hope it did no harm,” she told “Maischberger”. But he qualified: “After nine months, you can’t expect a party with a new president to completely reposition itself. It takes time.”
The presenter has raised an accusation against the president of the CDU. About 40,000 voters in Lower Saxony have moved from his party to the AfD. His suspicion: “With your word on social tourism, addressed to Ukrainian refugees, you finally advertised the original, which was then chosen?” Merz denied the accusation. He assured: “I will not try to copy the AfD anywhere to win back the AfD voters”. However, the hostess did not give up.
When asked again, Merz stressed that he had already admitted several times that the link with Ukrainian war refugees was wrong in his statement. He is still firm to the point, said Maischberger: “You say that the German social system creates too much incentive for refugees.” Merz referred to the growing number of people arriving in Germany via the Balkans. It could also be higher in 2022 than in 2016. The CDU leader warned of possible state overload.
According to the Federal Statistical Office, Germany spent around 4.3 billion euros in benefits under the Asylum-Seeker Benefits Act in 2021. Gross spending rose slightly for the first time in years. In 2016, during the refugee crisis, it reached a maximum of 9.4 billion euros. However, the authority assumed that many overloaded offices reported spending only in 2015 for the following year, so the budget was overestimated.
Merz did not want to “needlessly” question the fact that so far Ukrainian refugees have been able to receive Hartz IV benefits immediately thanks to an exception. “This is the first time you haven’t questioned a federal government decision,” Maischberger said. In the case of the refugees “who are arriving now”, Merz called for them to be treated as asylum seekers. Does it apply to all refugees, including Ukrainians ?, asked Maischberger and, after some contortions, concluded by Merz himself: “For everyone”.
The CDU leader left no doubts about his support for the increase in arms deliveries to Ukraine, stressing once again that he has a fundamentally different opinion on this from his deputy, the Prime Minister of Saxony Michael Kretschmer. “I don’t agree with the assessment that it only brings ruin and death. Then the alternative is to surrender and say we leave Ukraine to the Russian government,” Merz said. In view of the areas taken back by Ukraine, he said: “I am sure that Ukraine can win this war militarily.”
Irina Scherbakova is actually a pacifist. However, the co-founder of the Russian human rights organization Memorial, which is one of the winners of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize, asked in the “Maischberger” study: the invaded country must be supported with weapons. “If Ukraine doesn’t win this war, you have absolutely no idea what will happen to Russia.”
She witnessed a “mood of panic” in her home country, from which she fled to Germany after the invasion of Ukraine. “Moscow is emptying. You do not see any man on the street. You are just afraid,” Sherbakova said, referring to the partial mobilization announced by the head of the Kremlin Vladimir Putin.
The Memorial co-founder doesn’t necessarily expect the ruler to fall anytime soon. But there have always been surprising turns in the past. “As a historian, you can tell that there are some things in history where the mood suddenly changes, to a point where you might not expect it. Of course, that’s hope now too.”