The Greens have long since gotten rid of the spontaneity of the early years. They fight chance at least as fervently as species extinction. The appearance of Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir and Baden-Württemberg's Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann at the political Ash Wednesday event in Biberach, Upper Swabia, was choreographed by the party strategists in such a way that no one could return to Berlin or Stuttgart with material for a new unleashing of the succession debate for the State Ministry, the seat of the Prime Minister. The Greens have been meeting for two decades on Ash Wednesday in Biberach, they think little of crude beer feasts and exaggerated Klaumauk rhetoric. Instead of spit roast, only carnival pretzels are served, instead of wheat beer, juice spritzer flows.

Rüdiger Soldt

Political correspondent in Baden-Württemberg.

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At the beginning of his speech, the 57-year-old Cem Özdemir quoted again in the Catechism of Green Political Morality: The other parties are not enemies, but competitors, especially in these difficult times. Özdemir's speech is then a mixture of homage to Kretschmann's style of government, gentle criticism of Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder and his CSU and the denial of short-term intentions to change from the Berlin Ministry of Agriculture to the Stuttgart State Chancellery. With his visit to Kiev this week, US President Joe Biden showed how vigorously politics can still be made at the age of 80. The 92-year-old investor Warren Buffett is much in demand as an expert. The Rolling Stones are still in business. In Baden-Württemberg, Kretschmann manages the transformation of the economy "like a youngster".

Özdemir then made several deep bows to the 74-year-old Kretschmann, which can also mean: If continuity in style should be desired, I can deliver. Every speech by Kretschmann is a win, you always take home a Hannah Arendt quote and save yourself an adult education course in political education. Some sentences could have come from Kretschmann himself. For example: "Politics is not about pure doctrine and also not about absolute truth. Thank God. It's about good compromises."

Kretschmann, on the other hand, avoided any impression of official fatigue and even wrestled a few confident words about the beautiful and good sides of life in difficult times in world politics: "With every person who comes into the world new, it is created anew. Because in human reproduction and the combination of human chromosomes, there are more possible combinations than atoms in space. "It's about sexual reproduction. It's not only fun, it's also meaningful."

From a tactical and party political point of view, the Greens currently have little interest in addressing the question of succession themselves and thus weakening the Minister of Agriculture and the Prime Minister. However, the fact that the CDU was recently ahead of the Greens in opinion polls in the southwest has been followed with concern by many Green elected representatives. Angela Merkel's mistake to govern until the end of the legislative period in 2021 is also much talked about by the Greens. And despite all the feigned serenity, many also know that the window of opportunity for renewal could close at some point. That is why the weeks after the 2024 European and local elections are often cited as the ideal time for generational change. It would then be two years until the state election, enough time to get a new government routine with a new boss in Stuttgart's Villa Reitzenstein.