Bielefeld (AP) - To kick off the Green Party Congress in Bielefeld party leader Robert Habeck has spent the goal of having a say in the time after the era Merkel significantly.

"We want to set the course, we campaign for the responsibility to make the new time," he said on Friday in a free, very emotional speech in front of several hundred delegates. For this, the Greens needed "plans that reopen the horizon," which describe a policy that leads out of the small-Klein.

"Where did this spirit stay thinking of the big things in Germany?" Asked Habeck. It takes courage again to push "politics of enablement". The Greens have aroused much hope in recent years and received advance trust. "Now in the next phase we have to make hope come true."

Habeck joins forces with Annalena Baerbock to re-elect the Green Doubles this Saturday. Counter-candidates are not known yet. In surveys, the Greens are currently at about 20 percent and before the SPD. In the 2017 general election, they had brought only 8.9 percent and were drafted as the smallest faction in the Bundestag. The success is also attributed to the leading duo Habeck / Baerbock, the two rely on unity and want to place the Greens as "alliance party" in the middle of society.

But Habeck also warned his own party against self-righteousness. "We sometimes have a tendency to make arguments in an academically colored language, so we have to work on ourselves." Employees in the car industry, the coal industry, in conventional agriculture have a right to make their case, and the Greens are well advised to listen. "We also have to practice this tolerance with ourselves."

Habeck is traded as a possible chancellor candidate of his party. In the party leadership itself, this question is still considered taboo. The 50-year-old campaigned in his speech without a manuscript and lectern in the face of populist and extremist tendencies for a passionate defense of democracy: "We live in the best and freest republic that ever existed in Germany." Let us defend this republic. "

He spoke indirectly also for an observation of the entire AfD by the constitution protection. The party leadership had not distanced itself from its already observed youth organization Junge Alternative or the party flow "wings" who "dreamed of a fascist state". "Under these conditions, the entire AfD is a case for the constitutional protection," he said.

The Greens leader called on the CDU to show clear edge against the AfD and to prevent cooperation, no matter on what level. "Where the cooperation takes place, these divisions must be excluded from the CDU," demanded Habeck. This is a "matter of honor".

In January, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) classified the youth organization of the AfD and the "wing" as a suspected case in the area of ​​right-wing extremism. This also allows the use of intelligence agents. The AFD spoke then of a "political instrumentalization" of the constitution protection.

Main topics of the congress are housing policy, economy and climate protection. An economic crisis could endanger democracy in addition, warned Habeck. Ecological boundaries and digitization have necessitated changes in industry and services. "We need a large investment program, we need a readjustment of the market economy in Germany and in Europe," he demanded. The Internet in Germany is a "laughing stock", trains would be too late, swimming pools would be closed, there would be too little money in education, research and public spaces put.

In recent weeks, the Greens have tried to set economic policy accents - among other things, they demand a new fund for federal investment and a relaxation of the debt brake along the EU rules.

Lead proposal "Different economies for sustainable prosperity - on the way to the socio-ecological market economy"