Tessa Ganserer from Nuremberg has switched from the state stage to the national stage. What is your conclusion after almost a year in Berlin?
Munich – The last federal election was a year ago at the end of September. A turning point was heralded. 16 years of the CDU and Angela Merkel were over. With the Greens and the FDP, new players have entered the government game – and with them new MPs. One of the new faces in the Bundestag is Nuremberg MP Tessa Ganserer (B90/The Greens). She has already made history as the first transgender woman in Parliament, but she has much more to come. In an interview with Merkur.de from IPPEN.MEDIA , she explains what the Bavarians can learn from the Berliners, whether they would turn their backs on Nuremberg and why Markus Söder keeps speaking up loudly.
Have you settled down in Berlin in the meantime? What do you particularly like about the capital?
Ganserer: There is little time to do anything private during the weeks of meetings. I really like Berlin, so I like to spend a weekend there between the weeks of meetings to feel the heartbeat of this city.
How often do you commute back and forth between Berlin and Nuremberg?
Ganserer: There are more than 20 meeting weeks a year, but even when there are no meetings there are always important appointments for which I travel to Berlin, so more often than I would like. But the center of my life remains in the Franconian metropolis.
Is there anything the Berliners could learn from Bayern – and vice versa?
Ganserer: The Bavarians could learn from the Berliners how people really live the principle of “Liberalitas Bavariae”. The capital is also a role model to a certain extent. Here one still maintains the “live and let live”. On the other hand, the life of the people in Bavaria looks very different from what the CSU, after decades in the state government, would like to believe. That’s why I’m inviting all Berliners to Bavaria to see for themselves.
Tessa Ganserer takes her homeland with her everywhere, but always remains a “waidler”
Is coexistence in Berlin as a transgender woman different than in Bavaria or Nuremberg?
Ganserer: Difficult question that is not so easy to answer. In personal dealings in everyday life, I experience the people in Bavaria as tolerant as in Berlin. There is transphobia everywhere, but in Berlin much more is being done to promote acceptance. And in Berlin there is a much larger community.
Was it difficult to find a place to stay in Berlin’s tight housing market?
Ganserer: I was really very lucky and was able to take over the apartment of a colleague who had left. Otherwise it would have been very difficult.
For me, home is something very lively, nothing closed, delimiting and excluding.
There are almost 400 kilometers between the capital and the Franconian metropolis. How often do you miss your homeland or are you not a person connected to your homeland?
Ganserer: For me, home is something very lively, nothing closed, delimiting and excluding. To put it with a quote from the cult series “Somehow and anyway”: “Home is where it’s at” – I would therefore say: Yes, absolutely, I am a person who is close to home.
Do you then see yourself as Franconian, Lower Bavarian, Bavarian or does that not matter?
Ganserer: Origin doesn’t matter to me. I see myself as a person and if so, then as a Waidlerin. You might get a woidler out of the woid, but never the woid out of the woidler. (Tessa Ganserer was born in Zwiesel in the Bavarian Forest, editor’s note.)
Have you already given your new colleagues in the Bundestag tips for a visit to Bavaria or Nuremberg?
Ganserer: Yes, of course, for anyone who wants to see Nuremberg and would rather have a cold beer instead of mulled wine, I strongly recommend visiting the Nuremberg Bards’ Meeting.
Tessa Ganserer: “The CSU has made Bavaria completely dependent on Russian gas”
In the first year of the legislative period, she and her new colleagues have to deal with a lot of construction sites: the Ukraine war, rising inflation, the energy crisis, Corona. In addition, there are always heckling calls from home. Markus Söder sees himself and Bavaria not represented enough in the new government, do you agree?
Ganserer: As far as I know, Bavaria is still one of 16 federal states and still has six seats in the Bundesrat. The Bavarian interests are therefore very well seen and heard. But when Markus Söder isn’t the center of attention, he seems to feel ignored very quickly.
The gas and energy crisis affects all citizens. Has Bavaria become too dependent on Russian gas?
Ganserer: Under the leadership of the CDU and CSU, we have made ourselves completely dependent on Russian gas in Germany and even more so in Bavaria. The expansion of renewable energies has practically come to a standstill in recent years. That was a fatal misjudgment that we can all take the blame for together. In the short term, we will therefore have to distribute our energy imports to as many suppliers as possible. In the medium and long term, the solution can only be to advance energy efficiency and accelerate the expansion of renewables.
In this context, do you think it is right that the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, Robert Habeck, is getting involved in Bavaria’s energy policy?
Ganserer: After Bavaria brought the expansion of wind energy to a complete standstill under Markus Söder, it is right that Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck created uniform nationwide regulations with the “Wind on Land Act”.
What do you think of Hubert Aiwanger’s proposal to erect wind turbines in the forests of national parks?
Ganserer: I would advise Hubert Aiwanger to keep a cool head despite the heat. If he really wants to ensure that the expansion of wind energy in Bavaria finally picks up speed again, then he should no longer be the stirrup holder for the CSU. This is currently planning, with a Bavarian interim rule, to put new stumbling blocks in the way of municipalities and companies in the construction of wind turbines. This bill by the state government would create regulatory chaos. This is absolutely irresponsible, especially in times of the gas crisis.
And what do you say to critics who complain that wind turbines are harmful to birds, the environment and people?
Ganserer: The protection of residents is guaranteed by the valid, uniform regulations of the Federal Immission Control Act. We must not play off species protection and climate protection against each other. For this reason, uniform regulations have now been created nationwide for species protection, which facilitates the procedures for the expansion of wind energy. At the same time, we have provided a new species support program.
If we look to the future, what can still be improved in the field of renewable energies in Bavaria?
Ganserer: In addition to the expansion of wind energy in particular, we finally need an effective climate protection law in Bavaria. In addition, we should urgently focus on the areas of heat and mobility. In terms of dependence on fossil fuels, there is still a lot to do here.
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Tessa Ganserer’s tip for young politicians: “You have to burn for something”
Back to Berlin. How does working as a member of the state parliament differ from working as a member of the Bundestag?
Ganserer: Everything is bigger and faster. The committees and the number of colleagues, the wealth of information, the number of people who contact you, the media interest, the responsibility for the decisions.
What is your interim conclusion in Berlin?
Ganserer: After 16 years of standstill, I started to contribute to an ecological, socially just and socio-political awakening. We are currently working on this and have tackled and already implemented a lot of the government program agreed in the coalition agreement in the past few months: from the “Natural Climate Protection Action Program” to increasing the statutory minimum wage to the abolition of the advertising ban for abortions. Nevertheless, we are only at the beginning of the legislative period and still have a lot to do.
And what is your advice to young people who might also see their future in politics?
Our democracy lives from the fact that many people are politically and actively involved in parties. But I think it’s generally difficult to develop a business plan for a political career, it doesn’t usually work that way. It is important that people are passionate about something.
The interview was conducted by Thomas Eldersch.