In addition to the Greens, the CDU sees itself as the winner of the election in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst, who has been at the helm since October and faced the voters for the first time, is highly praised.

Sunday's result is respectable, but only in relative terms: Since the war, the party has only done three times worse - in the last three elections.

In addition, the coalition with the FDP has lost a total of 4 percentage points.

A triumph looks different.

Wüst has benefited from federal policy and he has suffered from it.

Suffered because the FDP was marginalized in Düsseldorf by its unfortunate actions in Berlin.

However, Wüst benefited from the fact that the SPD saw itself trimmed in NRW because Chancellor Olaf Scholz was not convincing during the war and crisis.

What does the election mean for the federal union and its chairman Friedrich Merz?

As after Daniel Günther's triumph in Schleswig-Holstein, he feels strengthened and believes he has cleared the gap after the defeat of CDU Prime Minister Tobias Hans in Saarland.

However, Merz also has two competitors in Kiel and Düsseldorf who are potential future chancellor candidates.

Günther and Wüst are almost 20 years younger than 66-year-old Merz.

More importantly, both state fathers could enter into a coalition with the Greens, which many politicians - and some voters - see as a future option for Berlin as well.

This path may be wise in terms of power politics, but Merz should not be guided by it in terms of content.

Especially at a time when the FDP is losing its liberal compass, the Union must fly the banner of austerity, market forces, and empowered citizens to take responsibility for themselves.

This also includes naming the weaknesses of green energy policy and combating their excesses on security of supply, prices and the competitiveness of German industry.

Black and green may work at state level, but the model is not yet suitable for the federal government.