In North Rhine-Westphalia, the CDU and the Greens seem to have agreed on a choreography of rapprochement.

A good one and a half weeks after the state election, after several little steps, they take the first big step towards each other.

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst (CDU) and Green Party leader Mona Neubaur, they wanted to meet for exploratory talks on Tuesday afternoon.

With a sense of symbolism, the negotiators chose the "paint box" in the Düsseldorf Hofgarten.

The Artists' Association was founded after the March Revolution in 1848, as a place where all political and artistic persuasions coexisted.

Pure burger

Political correspondent in North Rhine-Westphalia.

  • Follow I follow

"Probing means building a framework in which you can later paint a joint picture," says Wüst, when the eleven-strong delegation greeted each other with a few hellos.

Neubaur replied that the Greens went into the talks with confidence.

Admittedly, there is still a long way to go.

"But anyone who is blessed with such electoral success as we are as Greens in North Rhine-Westphalia must recognize that the challenges of this time also require a willingness to take responsibility."

North Rhine-Westphalia is heading towards black and green.

That became apparent early on the evening of the election.

But because there has not been such a cross-camp alliance in the most populous federal state, the Greens and Christian Democrats prefer to proceed cautiously.

Under no circumstances should black and green appear to be without alternatives, and under no circumstances should they scare away their own base.

Some of the more left-wing Greens in North Rhine-Westphalia are still hanging on red-green despite mixed experiences with the Social Democrats.

Grand coalition extremely unpopular

There are many in the CDU who would have preferred to continue governing with the FDP.

Parallel to the very first black-green preliminary talk, the two electoral losers, SPD and FDP, met separately - although there was neither red-green nor black-yellow enough and although neither a grand coalition nor a traffic light are realistic options.

A grand coalition is extremely unpopular among the CDU and SPD; unlike in other federal states, this alliance has never existed in North Rhine-Westphalia.

A traffic light with the two election losers SPD and FDP was unlikely from the start.

The CDU and the Greens have long been on a rapprochement course.

Wüst had already presented himself as a black-green bridge builder at the end of October after his election as Prime Minister.

Again and again he emphasized that it was necessary to combine “ecology and economy”, “climate protection and jobs”.

On the evening of the election, it was said from the leadership circle of the CDU that they were not as far apart as they might have been in the past.

An influential Green, on the other hand, found that Black-Green was ideally suited to integrating the largest possible population groups in times shaped by the Ukraine war and the eco-social transformation.

Wüst himself found a formulation that sounded like anticipating a coalition agreement with the Greens: "We want the reconciliation of climate protection and industrialized countries."

CDU and Greens want to find each other.

Wüst and Neubaur made that clear before their delegations withdrew to the "Malkasten" on Tuesday afternoon.

The aim of the exploratory talks is "to find answers to the key future issues of our country, to come from an or to an and," said Wüst.

Neubaur emphasized that the Greens did not come pro forma or for fun, but full of seriousness and confidence, which they also wanted to radiate in a new state government.

"The people in North Rhine-Westphalia need a government that is up to date, we are ready for it." The two delegations want to meet four times in order to be able to present their party committees with a paper with the exploratory results by the weekend.

On Sunday, the state board of the CDU and the Greens will have a small party conference to decide whether there will be coalition negotiations.