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"Greens are taking the other two parties hostage to a certain extent"

WORLD: Mr.

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"Greens are taking the other two parties hostage to a certain extent"

WORLD: Mr. Hagen, after losing four state elections in a row this year: What does the FDP leadership have to change so that this negative series can be broken?

Martin Hagen: In any case, you shouldn't listen to those who say that the party in the traffic light coalition must now be more brave and conform. The opposite is true. The FDP must show a clear, liberal profile.

WORLD: Does that mean specifically?

Hagen: Example of energy supply: We have to pull out all the stops to ensure a secure and affordable energy supply. It is good that the traffic light with the electricity and gas price brake is now putting up an economic protective shield for citizens and companies.

But there also needs to be some movement on the supply side. In addition to domestic gas production, this also includes nuclear power. The Greens are taking the other two traffic light parties hostage with their blocking stance. As the FDP, we have to be even clearer here. And actually, a word of power from the Federal Chancellor would now be due.

WORLD: What do you think was the main problem this year?

Hagen: In the first half of the year we found it very difficult to make our economic and financial policy profile visible in a coalition with two left-wing parties. In the last few months, things have worked out better: the keywords are cold progression and the keywords are debt brakes.

However, citizens are currently massively unsettled by inflation and the energy crisis. Overall, they don't trust the traffic light parties with sufficient problem-solving skills - that's why so many voters in Lower Saxony voted in protest for the AfD. The traffic light has to be better overall.

WORLD: After the election evening in Lower Saxony, voices were also raised that the FDP should terminate the traffic light coalition in the federal government as soon as possible. Would that be a possible way out of the crisis?

Hagen: I'm not a fan of the traffic light coalition. She is also definitely not a model for us here in Bavaria. But people would rightly resent us if we just gave up in the middle of a serious crisis. For us, the rule is: first the country, then the party. And that's why such exit scenarios are currently out of place.

WORLD: Can it also be that in times of crisis like these it is too big a balancing act to be FDP chairman and finance minister at the same time in a federal government that has to represent spending-oriented crisis management?

Hagen: That is undoubtedly a balancing act. But I can't think of a better party leader than Christian Lindner. He has my full backing and I very much hope that next year he will campaign with us as federal chairman in the state election campaign.

WORLD: How concerned are you that the liberals will end up back in the extra-parliamentary opposition, as they did in 2013, even after this government participation in the federal government? Previously possibly also in Bavaria.

Hagen: This concern is not an issue for us. We are now leading the country through these difficult times, and that is our focus. As far as the Bayern election is concerned, I'm in good spirits. We have a very good starting position, more members than ever before and have also just grown again as a parliamentary group: the former Economics Minister Franz Josef Pschierer joined us from the CSU. Next year's state elections will turn the tide for the FDP.

"Kick-off Politics" is WELT's daily news podcast. The most important topic analyzed by WELT editors and the dates of the day. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, among others, or directly via RSS feed.

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