In the dispute over wind turbines in Thuringia, CDU party leader Friedrich Merz hopes for a solution without the AfD. “There are talks and I hope that there is a reasonable solution without the AfD being needed,” said Merz on the ZDF program “Markus Lanz”, which was broadcast on Wednesday night.

The dispute is about a 1000 meter distance rule for wind turbines in residential buildings demanded by the CDU in Thuringia. Because of the announced support for the CDU plans by the AfD parliamentary group with its boss Björn Höcke, the dispute has caused a stir nationwide.

The background is that the opposition factions CDU and AfD as well as the FDP group can outvote the red-red-green Thuringian minority coalition in the state parliament if they act together. SPD General Secretary Kevin Kühnert had warned the CDU in Thuringia against working with the AfD and also made an appeal to Merz. In Thuringia, the AfD is being monitored by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution because of right-wing extremist tendencies.

“It’s about a solution in Thuringia for the distance rules that the population wants there, as well as in other federal states,” emphasized Merz. “Now we cannot make every application that we consider correct on the matter dependent on whether the AfD agrees to it or not.” He also argued that the CDU application corresponds exactly to the position of the SPD-led state government in Brandenburg.

Most recently, there had been initial talks between the red-red-green minority coalition and the opposition CDU parliamentary group in Thuringia, as both sides announced in Erfurt on Tuesday. CDU faction leader Mario Voigt and Environment Minister Anja Siegesmund (Greens) had phoned. “We seriously exchanged our positions today and agreed to stay in touch in the coming days,” said Voigt.

Siegesmund and Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (left) had offered the CDU, the strongest opposition faction, to negotiate on the basis of the emerging coalition agreement between the CDU and the Greens in North Rhine-Westphalia on the subject of renewable energy. The CDU wants to change the Thuringian building code for the distance regulation and has submitted a draft law to the state parliament.

The federal government also wants to tear down hurdles for the expansion of wind energy – and to overturn the distance regulations of the federal states. With the legislative package, which was presented to the Reuters news agency on Wednesday morning, around two percent of Germany’s area is to be reserved for wind turbines.

In order to enforce this, not only planning and building law, but also the nature conservation law should be changed. According to the project, the distance rules for wind turbines to residential buildings can initially remain in force. However, if a federal state misses its space requirements, these regulations become invalid. According to government circles, the project is to be launched on Wednesday, approved by the cabinet in June and tabled in the Bundestag.

The federal government justifies its action with an urgently needed acceleration of the expansion of renewable energies with climate protection – but also with the war in Ukraine and security policy.