Even if she and her parliamentary group colleagues slowly began to shiver after about an hour because it was colder than expected on Stresemannstraße, between the construction site and the house entrances, Hamburg's second mayor Katharina Fegebank (Greens) tried to gain strength and stamina show: "We are not afraid to tackle the difficult things," she called to the surrounding journalists who had been invited by the Green Group in Hamburg.
Just days before, a specially commissioned graffiti had been created on the wall of the house: A colorful Hamburg motif with a subway in the center and lots of greenery around it, bees, flowers, solar cells on roofs, cyclists and wheelchair users, something with hydrogen, City Hall, TV Tower and Bornplatz Synagogue. According to Fegebank, these are all “matters of the heart” for the Hamburg Greens. State chairwoman Maryam Blumenthal and parliamentary group leader Jennifer Jasberg sprayed a stencil live: they tagged the image with yellow and green paint through a previously attached cardboard template, so that “Green Group Hamburg” can now also be read on the wall.
The motto of the press event at the unusual location was "Looking back - 1000 days of Green Hamburg". 1000 days since the swearing-in of the red-green Senate in June 2020 was about that long. So an interim balance halfway between the past and upcoming citizenship elections.
Jasberg first recalled that "many issues that arose during Corona had to be cushioned", for example in the area of club culture or animal welfare. But, according to Jasberg, it is now also important to look ahead and to tackle "the fundamental transformations in all areas". "We realize that this is a tough business." There have to be many compromises between commitments and implementation - both in the federal government and in Hamburg. Introducing one's own topics is "a big challenge" - "but we have a very good feeling that it sometimes works quite well in Hamburg". In Berlin, the Greens had not been particularly successful with their positions in the nightly coalition committee of the federal government.
Blumenthal also rated the previous parliamentary work in Hamburg as “good”, although communication during the pandemic was more difficult than usual due to distance requirements and video conferences. The coalition managed to “get the city through the crisis well – that was always the top priority”. For the coming months, the main topics set in February, such as the idea of the 15-minute city, will be in focus. Blumenthal announced new economic policy decisions for June and “education policy ideas” for November.
The Greens almost doubled their result in the 2020 state elections and now have 33 MPs. With regard to the upcoming general election in 2025, Blumenthal strengthened the party's existing claim to power. When asked about possible top candidates, however, she remained vague. At the moment you are still sorting yourself in terms of content and personnel. Of Fegebank, last election's frontrunner, she said, "We have absolutely no reason to say there has to be a renewal or something else."
Fegebank called the past "very moving years, marked by crises and uncertainties", which the Greens "have accepted well and courageously" and are reliable contacts, according to Fegebank: "We do not shape the reality that we want, but the reality that is there.” The work during the crises was characterized by reacting. The focus must now be on "where, how and what we want to live on in ten years".
In the Hamburg coalition, the Greens see themselves in the "design departments, but also in the black bread issues" - with self-imposed goals such as the mobility, energy and heating transition and being a pioneer in climate protection, but also in functioning districts or the question of structure of the rule of law. We work together with the Hamburg SPD in a spirit of trust, “with a lot less trouble and discussions than we experienced in Berlin”.
Anjes Tjarks, Green Senator for Transport and Mobility, referred to 170 kilometers of newly built cycle paths, 500 kilometers of renovated roads and the HVV tariff reform presented yesterday. “From 2019 to 2022, car traffic decreased by 13 percent. In the same period, cycling has increased by 33 percent - that means we are seeing the results of this policy, the mobility turnaround is in full swing."
This policy is attracting a lot of attention nationwide. "We won the world congress of local public transport because our strategy is convincing." In the morning, at a congress of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), Tjarks spoke about his plans for autonomously driving shuttles and the expansion of electric transport.
Finally, the Senator for Justice and Consumer Protection, Anna Gallina, recalled the lessons of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine: "You should not take the rule of law for granted." She defined the fight against hate on the Internet as a focus of hers, alongside that against child pornography and youth violence departments. Among other things, the possibility was created to be able to file criminal charges online with low thresholds. In consumer protection, she wants to continue to campaign for a cap on index rents.
At the end, Fegebank summed it up again: “Preventive policy” is “green DNA”. This must take a closer look at how the economy and society can be transformed in such a way that life in the Hanseatic city is worth living for everyone. This can sometimes happen faster – on the other hand, people are being expected to do a lot right now. But her party and faction steered a "clear course for the future". Instead of delaying, waiting and hoping "that it will simply rush past you", the claim is "to think about how we can shape a good tomorrow".