The Greens elect Sven Giegold at their party congress in Leipzig with 97.9 percent of the votes for the top candidate for the European elections in 2019.
The second top candidate is Ska Keller, who has led the Green Party in the European Parliament for three years.
For his convinced but pragmatic political stance, Giegold receives great applause from the delegates.
By Stefan Braun, Leipzig
In the end, something comes that he did not expect. Sven Giegold has been with the Greens for a while now. But that's not happened to him before. 97.9 percent have given him their vote for the top candidate. This is so much more than the 48-year-old had expected that he now on stage no longer knows where to go with his hands.
The delegates cheer because Giegold has taken her with his passion from the chairs. So they give him something back, not just in the form of many voices. Because if the polls are good and the mood is peaceful, then a party can sometimes be boring. This will be experienced by around 800 delegates in Leipzig this weekend. Giegold shows energy and gives it away.
"Macron's social Europe has so far turned out to be a label fraud."
The Charlemagne Prize has earned the president anyway, says the Green-European politician Sven Giegold. A conversation about Germany as a brake pad, the unity of Europe and the fight against populism.
Interview by Stefan Braun
His application as top candidate for the European elections in May 2019 only takes a good twelve minutes. But Giegold uses that to bring all his passion to the stage. He does not do that with a few phrases; the financial expert quickly becomes quite precise. And he names the special that he associates with the European Parliament and with Europe. In Strasbourg, according to Giegold, one experiences every day how different the view of this Europe still is. "The European Parliament is a great place to get out of the national echo chamber."
So you learn quickly how differently the world beyond Germany is experienced. In Germany, Europe is often perceived according to the motto: "Germany pays and everyone else does not follow the rules." In the rest of Europe he often hears the opposite: "Everyone belongs to Europe – and Germany benefits first."
Both, says Giegold, are widespread in the minds – and both are wrong. In fact, everyone made compromises for Europe every day, for the common good. Because: "Without Europe we would all be much worse off."
Dreamers, but also pragmatists: The newly elected EU leading candidate of the Greens Sven Giegold.
(Photo: Getty Images)
Giegold's most important point is his view of the very real Europe. He glorifies nothing, but he warns against succumbing to a widespread but dangerous reflex. "You can only defend Europe if you do not speak badly." Germany is not a victim but the biggest winner of the European unification. Therefore, he will fight against all who claim the opposite.
People feel that Giegold is especially serious about Europe
And the party congress? He cheers. Which is quite remarkable, because the Greens are happy to be pathetic, but even tend to critically eyeball the great Brussels apparatus. Giegold does not even resort to the best means, he does not yet talk about his fight against tax evasion Internet giants or the everyday poison, the chemical companies to date in the environment. Nevertheless, the party congress is happy. His verve transmits. Everything he says gets a lot of applause because people feel that he is especially serious.
Here, too, Giegold not only relies on militant slogans, but also defends an uropean inevitability: that even in these struggles one can only make compromises. He is and always is a dreamer, but "in doing I am always a realist." And that means: "Compromise is not a betrayal, but a purpose to achieve our green goals." Pragmatic it hardly goes – and again the applause hardly wants to end.
In the end, Giegold is almost a bit ashamed on the stage and seems almost awkward, as party leader Robert Habeck him from the audience a European flag fishing. For a moment there is nothing staged – not a bad moment at this congress.
Ska Keller is chosen as the second top candidate. The 36-year-old, who has led the Green Party in the EU Parliament for three years, can not bring the same force to the stage. She advertises sentences like: "We only have this one planet – let's protect it." Or the appeal: "Europe can do more if we are not intimidated."
In the end Keller, who competed like Giegold without a counter-candidate, receives 87 percent of the delegates' votes. That's a good ten percent less, but it's still enough to wave to the conclusion with Giegold flagging into the audience.
Huge success, huge responsibility
The second strongest force in Bavaria, maybe even the number one in Hesse – the Greens enjoy a lot of enthusiasm. But are you ready to follow in the footsteps of the SPD?
Comment by Stefan Braun