Germany, the Greens take the lead

 In Economy

The Green Party is at the door of the German Chancellery. The markets do not seem to be moved by this prospect.

While the Christian Democrats were tearing themselves apart, it was almost unanimously that the Greens nominated Annabela Baerbock as their candidate to succeed Angela Merkel in the September 26 elections. A recent poll crowned this choice, giving his party a clear advantage with 28% of favorable opinions against only 21% for the CDU/CSU1.

In the land of multicolored political coalitions, the Party of Environmentalists already participates in 11 of the 16 local Länders, and at the head of one of them, governing sometimes with the CDU/CSU, sometimes with the SPD, or the FDP, without seeming to be compromising itself, but having acquired real experience in the conduct of public affairs. Born in the 1980s, the Green Party, a natural ally to the SPD, participated in the government of Gerhard Schroeder, represented among others, by Joschka Fischer, Vice-Chancellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs. By winning the presidency of Baden-Wuerttemberg for the third time in a row (the headquarters of Daimler and SAP among other large corporations), the Greens are being praised for their pragmatism and ability to combine environmental issues with the country’s industrial policy. Thus, the German Green Party embodies the model of the successful synthesis between the various trends that compose it, adopting in recent years a program described as centre-left, suitable to rally a larger majority, while openly approaching the economic circles of the country.

In all respects, German environmentalists are in tune with the times.

Thus, the positions and the program of the Green Party appear more clearly in line with the majority of the country. Already clearly aligned with the European Union, the Grennen programme now officially recognises the ‘primacy of the market economy’ while calling for its regulation and focusing its ambition on taking into account negative externalities, i.e. carbon taxation. Rather than dangerous tricks, would the Greens in the German Chancellery not become the most credible drivers of European climate policy?

In all respects, German environmentalists are in tune with the times. It must also be said that some of Angela Merkel’s decisions, such as the cessation of nuclear production after Fukushima in 2011, probably helped to raise public awareness of the party’s theses. Encroaching on the traditional project of the Social Democrats, who have also suffered from their alliance with the CDU in recent years, the Greens advocate strengthening social policies and supporting the weakest. Finally, combining their rejection of the traditional and polluting industries – chemistry, automobiles and machine tools – that have made the country’s strength, with the promise of a national and European programme to boost investment towards digital transformation and clean energy, the Greens’ program aims to meet the expectations of voters after the pandemic recession.

And after all Germany has the means to its aim, and its plan presented to the European Commission (within the NextGen Plan), by including almost 80% of the funds of the European recovery plan in the climate protection policy, has nothing to annoy the party of Annabela Baerbock (even if it did not fail to criticize it). Moreover, Germany still has its pockets full: the increase of almost 370 billion euros in its public debt, if it anguishes public accountants, still leaves it at perfectly acceptable levels (barely 70% of GDP), and even comfortable in view of the debt of France or Italy, its main European partners.

Nothing is yet taken for granted, as exasperation mounts in the country, the AfD’s breakthrough seems irresistible, and employers still express their skepticism, if not their reluctance, towards green proposals. However, with six months to go, it is in front of Annabela Baerbock that the carpet, red this time, could be laid under her feet.


1 Forsa poll for RTL TV released on April 20, 2021.

©Article published in on May 4th 2021  ®Dessin Barret

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