Berlin (dpa) - At the first joint round of introductions of the three candidates for the CDU chairmanship, there was no hard argument on the open stage.

Friedrich Merz, Norbert Röttgen and Armin Laschet assured the offspring from the Junge Union (JU) on Saturday evening in a discussion on the Internet that they would be committed to digitization, climate protection and innovations.

All three made it clear at their appearance in Berlin that they would work as new party leaders for a digital ministry in the federal government.

Anyone who expected a major dispute or news such as the names for potential secretaries-general von Merz or Röttgen was disappointed.

Routinely, NRW Prime Minister Laschet, ex-Union parliamentary leader Merz and the foreign politician Röttgen unwound their answers to the questions of the party's youngsters.

In addition to digitization, it was about education and the future, innovation, climate, environment and sustainability, intergenerational equity and the future of the CDU as a people's party.

A lot has already been done in the area of ​​digitization, but that is not enough, said NRW Prime Minister Laschet.

It has to go faster, against all - bureaucratic - resistance.

At the same time, Laschet reminded that there is already a department for digitization in North Rhine-Westphalia - he meant the state ministry for economy, innovation, digitization and energy.

According to Merz, the corona pandemic has made it clear that Germany is digitally poorly positioned, especially in schools.

A digital ministry alone is not enough, however, it must have clear responsibilities, actually reduce bureaucracy and have cross-sectional competence.

According to Röttgen, Germany is not only ten years behind when it comes to digitization, but rather 20. He also criticized the fact that the administration is far too slow and thus also hinders innovation.

Both he and Merz made it clear that Germany needs a different culture when dealing with innovations.

The three applicants stood together on one stage for the first time in the internal election campaign.

A party conference with 1001 delegates is to elect the successor to party leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer on December 4th in Stuttgart.

Finally, JU boss Tilman Kuban started a two-week member survey of the youth organization on the CDU chairmanship.

The result is considered to be the recommendation of the youngsters for the election in Stuttgart.

The JU - the joint youth organization of the CDU and CSU - claims to have almost 100,000 members.

However, only the 70,000 JU members who do not come from Bavaria are questioned - as it is about the CDU chairmanship.

Of the 1001 delegates at the CDU party congress, around 100 belong to the JU.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 201018-99-983991 / 2