Fun duel: Saarland vs Palatinate duel ends in a draw


funny duelThe Saarland duel against the Palatinate ends in a draw

SAARBRUCKEN – Lyoner or Saumagen? Saarland or Palatinate? High-ranking politicians enter the disc ring and throw balls around the question. A fun duel on a serious background: Saarland is missing the Saarlanders.

It is exactly twelve o’clock. Sports ground in Saarbrücken. Saarland invited the Palatinate to “duel”. Saarland Prime Minister Anke Rehlinger and the Rhineland-Palatinate Labor Minister Alexander Schweitzer (both SPD) appeared. In T-shirts and coaches to compete in discos and basketball. Even if the duel is fun in the summer political crisis – you can say that two is a certain tension.

“Psychological Warfare Can Do It”

“I am in enemy territory. You are already concentrated. It will not be a home game – said Schweitzer playfully before the match. He had several bottles of Palatinate wine with him to keep him in a good mood. “Let’s do our best,” said Rehlinger. Well prepared? “Before that, I underwent intense mental training. It has to be enough – he jokes. He: “She can wage psychological warfare.”

After almost an hour, the duel is settled: there is no winner and no loser – but a “clever draw.” This is good for diplomatic relations, said Rehlinger with a laugh. “Then we’ll do a training camp,” said Schweitzer. Or socializing.

Each had three disc throws: the longest Rehlinger was 28.80 meters, while the maximum Schweitzer distance was 16.30 meters. The result that was to be expected – because Rehlinger continues to hold the Saarland youth record in discus of 49.18 m since 1995. Schweitzer (48) did not stand a chance against the former player: “Today I have a hand disco for the first time.”

In turn, Schweitzer scored in basketball. Even once – with six free throws. Rehlinger (46) got nothing. “Today is also a battle for the heat,” said the 2.06-meter-tall minister, sweating almost 30 degrees. Basketball is his favorite sport. “I played Bad Bergzabern as a center,” he says. “But that was 25 years and 25 kilograms ago.”

The reason for the duel was Rehlinger’s “bait bonus” for the New Saarlanders: while in office, she announced in her government statement in April that she wanted to pay a relocation bonus for newcomers to Saarland. Because he wants to reverse the trend that there are fewer and fewer Saarland inhabitants and that he has a million inhabitants again. By the end of 2021, the population of the smallest German state had dropped to 983,348, the lowest level since 1953.

Schweitzer understands that Saarland is so “ambitious and ambitious” on this matter. Nor does he have anything against the million inhabitants of the Saarland, but not by poaching “precious Palatinate people.” “We can’t do without anyone in Rhineland-Palatinate.” A humorous punch exchange in the media developed from there and back, which then ended with Rehlinger’s proposition of a duel.

The relationship between the people of Saarland and the Palatinate is traditional, says the Saarbrücken State Chancellery, “special.” The people of the Saarland are considered the favorite subject of the Palatinate jokes – and vice versa. At the same time, both sides feel close and connected, which is why people often talk about “friendly” neighbors.

“The irritation has to do with feeling”

“Teasing has to do with feeling,” said Schweitzer. “The Palatinate and the people of the Saarland are closer than they admit.” He doesn’t think the relocation bonus is politically good, but it was a good idea from a communication point of view, he admitted. “If the relocation bonus is successful in bringing people from the Swabian Alb to Saarland, I have no problem with that. Then there is free passage through the Palatinate, he said, laughing.

After the sports rivalry, the politicians discussed the common perspectives and cooperation between the two federal states. It can become even tougher when it comes to the fight for skilled workers and the issue of local authority debt relief. And a joint cabinet meeting would be good again, both said.

“We don’t have to offer a relocation bonus,” said Schweitzer. «We have the best wines in Germany. That alone has to convince. He said – and went home. In the Palatinate.


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