Modesty is an ornament, you can get further without it: “We can work miracles!” Annalena Baerbock declared on Friday evening at the federal party conference of the Greens.

"We can storm peaks!" Added Robert Habeck on Saturday afternoon.

Even the attempt to hold a program party conference in the times of the pandemic was ambitious.

The event should actually take place in Karlsruhe, a prelude to the super election year 2021. In March, a new state parliament will be elected in Baden-Württemberg, the Greens want to defend the state chancellery there.

Corona ruined these plans, but a cancellation was still out of the question.

The Greens are the first party in Germany to hold a digital party convention from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon.

The more than 800 delegates are connected via the Internet, the federal board and the presidium control the course from the Berlin Tempodrom.

Applause is marked with sunflower icons and hearts.


The focus of the debates is the adoption of a new basic program. For two and a half years, the 60-page draft was refined in many events and working groups, over 1700 amendments were received;

a mammoth task.

“The focus of our politics is on people in their dignity and freedom”, it says in the first sentence.

The wording is not intended to be reminiscent of the first article of the Basic Law by chance.

With their program, the Greens want to describe their vision of the green state, which they want to get closer to, especially in the super election year 2021.

“Let's make 2021 the beginning of a new era,” said Baerbock in her opening speech.

2021 will be the year “in which we will surpass ourselves”, emphasized Habeck.

Robert Habeck, and Annalena Baerbock in the so-called living room of the digital party conference of the Greens

Source: dpa / Kay Nietfeld

The Greens are already involved in eleven state governments in the republic and represented in 14 state parliaments.

In the coming super election year, his party is fighting "seriously for the leadership of this country," said the party leader.

Neither he nor Baerbock were proclaimed candidate for chancellor at the party congress.

The decision should only be made in the coming early summer.

But the claim to finally take a seat on the government benches again not only in the federal states but also in the federal government was clearly formulated: “We are fighting for power!”, Said Habeck.


The new program is entitled "Change creates stability".

The Greens' unofficial watchword at the moment is above all: Don't make mistakes.

The pandemic initially caught the party off guard, and the polls fell.

The Greens, who are now well ahead of the SPD, have recovered from this.

It should stay that way;

the party leadership wants to start the upcoming election campaigns without a mortgage.

An "accident", such as the one that happened in March 1998 when the Greens demanded a petrol price of 5 marks per liter, should be carefully avoided.

“We don't need genetically modified plants,” said one delegate

Most of the contentious issues in the formulation of the new program were settled in advance in the green consensus machine, for example in the fight against climate change.

The party leadership feared that the party congress would commit itself to a “1.5 degree” target.

Annalena Baerbock spoke to the delegates' conscience right at the opening: "Shaking the Paris Treaty - no matter how well it is meant, prevents us from filling it with life," she said.

On the night of Saturday she worked on a compromise - with success.

There were no counter-motions, the program now speaks of a “1.5-degree path”, a formulation that leaves room for government policy.

When it comes to genetic engineering in agriculture, however, worlds collided on Saturday evening.

The attempts of the federal executive committee to bring this complex to a common denominator had not been fruitful.

“We don't need genetically modified plants and we don't want them!” Declared a delegate who pleaded for fundamental rejection.

The Green Dorothea Kaufmann from Heidelberg, on the other hand, spoke out in favor of trusting science not only when it comes to climate change.

“We should do the same with this topic!” Explained the molecular biologist.

New genetic engineering methods in plant development are not dangerous, the treated plants are nature-identical and completely harmless, as more than 3000 studies have shown.


But it did not get through.

In the end, the delegates voted with a large majority for a compromise formula for the federal executive committee.

Harald Ebner, spokesman for genetic engineering policy of the Greens, welcomes the decision on agro-genetic engineering as a “good decision”.

"Alliance 90 / The Greens remain the party of precaution and technology assessment," he told WELT.

With both old and new genetic engineering, there must be a risk assessment and labeling requirement, the Greens have now decided.

Whether this is also seen in the scientific community is another question.

A few days before the party congress, 150 professors and researchers wrote an open letter asking the Greens to finally move on the subject of genetic engineering and not to fall for false statements or fake news.

The compromise formula of the federal executive committee, which in the end approached the opponents of genetic engineering rather than the green supporters, appeared to many scientists to be too lukewarm.

In the original proposal of the federal executive committee, it was still said: “Research on new genetic engineering should be strengthened as well as alternative approaches that rely on traditional breeding methods.” For many Greens this apparently went too far.

Before the party congress, the executive committee changed its proposal to the version that was then accepted.

This only calls for the strengthening of risk and evidence research as well as research on traditional and ecological breeding methods.

Robert Habeck personally took a stand on the subject, and the fear that the dispute could get out of hand was apparently very high.

There was no embarrassment, a return to fundamental rejection found in the end only 170 supporters;

529 delegates voted for the party leadership's proposal.

Nevertheless, the delegates of the “Science Party” - this is how the Greens like to present themselves - probably used old instincts on this topic rather than reacted to new research results.

Otherwise, the digital marathon party conference was more lively than the digital state council that the party held in early May.

Professional video statements and live contributions took turns, two moderators gave a humorous guide through the program in a corner sofa.

Overcoming the climate crisis is the focus of the current debates, but the program contains statements on all major areas of business and politics.

Above all, the Greens want to demonstrate connectivity with the new program - in all directions.

Baerbock: "This time is green"

“Every time has its color,” said Annalena Baerbock at the opening, “and this time is green”.

At least Habeck tried at his appearance to address those citizens in the country who may not be entirely comfortable with the green claim to validity.

“Some changes mean loss or the fear of loss: the car maker who fears she will be on the road in a few years.

The coal worker whose opencast mine is closing.

The peasant family that gives up the farm because they can no longer keep up in the competition of growth, ”said the party leader.

"All of these people deserve answers and perspectives that will secure them respect and dignity".

The sentences were probably also addressed to those party members who consider job losses in important industries to be regrettable but unavoidable collateral damage in the fight against climate change.

“In 2019 we had a tailwind.

In 2020 the wind came from the front! ”Said Habeck.

But 2021 will be the year “in which we will surpass ourselves”.

The downturn in which the party was stuck in the middle of the year seems to have been overcome.

The political competition should only be amazed at the self-confidence and daring of this party.