As the day of the German federal elections approaches, we are giving you a European perspective on Annalena Baerbock's candidacy for the German chancellorship.
The German Greens (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) are on track to having their best results yet. In their manifesto, they state their offer to 'renew the country together': "We want to lead this country courageously, decisively and with renewed vigour, out of the crisis into this decisive decade ahead."
A new era for EU policy
Annalena Baerbock is campaigning for a strengthened, crisis-proof and effective European Union. The Greens plan to have an active role in forging European policy and envision a Europe that tackles the key issues of the future. Jamila Schäfer, the deputy chairwoman of the German Greens, stated that:
"The upcoming general elections are (...) not only for Germany a choice of direction between persistence and departure, but also an opportunity for active European policy after years of inertia and lack of ideas."
The party's pro-European stance will also mean that more will get done at the level of the European Union to enhance democracy and enable a just and sustainable transition. For example, they plan to strengthen the parliamentary democracy of the European Union, ensure more transparency, enhance Europe-wide cooperation and participation, and further develop the EU mechanism for democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights. Their manifesto outlines their support for a strong EU:
"More and more challenges are both European and global. We can only manage these in a strong European Union, which brings together the will to act and the capacity for action, and which its citizens are actively and democratically involved in shaping. This is why we think of our democracy as resolutely European, we want to consolidate and strengthen it and structurally overcome paralysing blockages – and thereby approach issues of the future in a determined way. Our guiding star for the future development of the European Union is a Federal European Republic with a European constitution."
Towards a climate-neutral and more social Europe
Today's challenges, such as the climate crisis, corruption and poverty, are increasingly European and global. Short-sighted crisis management is no longer working. Annalena Baerbock has highlighted that these issues can no longer be postponed to the future. For the German Greens, the time to act is now – and they are ready because we are ready!
A socio-ecological transformation
The German Greens are planning to create climate-friendly prosperity, which will involve putting the country on the path to respecting the 1.5°C goal, making climate protection socially fair, and creating new green jobs. It will also include pursuing an ambitious and sustainable climate foreign policy that conforms to human rights and campaigns for global climate justice. They state that, in a federal government, they will do everything in their power to 'make the European Union the first CO2-free economic area'.
A social Europe
The German Greens are calling for a European Union that guarantees social security and minimum standards, stating that "Social rights must be accorded the same value as the economic freedoms of the internal market." This would entail the creation of common European work and social standards, such as a European basic income directive, and a European unemployment reinsurance scheme.
A diverse economy that is resistant to crises
The German Greens plan to promote a cooperative and caring economic system that is oriented towards public welfare. The socio-ecological transformation plays a key role in creating sustainable prosperity. Under the German Greens, leading industry into the age of climate neutrality will entail sustainable jobs, social protection and fair competition in Germany and Europe, as well as taxing multinational corporations appropriately, and investing in healthcare and education.
The German Greens will defend the fundamental values of the EU within its borders and resolutely champion these values outside its borders: human rights, democracy, freedom and the rule of law. At the international level, the party plans to strengthen humanitarian aid, protect human rights defenders and refugees, fight poverty and inequality and stand up for peace and security.
The importance of climate governments in the EU
The Greens are already part of the governing coalitions in six EU countries: Austria, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg, and Sweden. Having the German Greens in government would mean even greater weight behind a more ambitious climate policy in the EU and more expansive network of Greens across Europe. As the biggest economy in the EU, if Germany were to lead on climate, it's clear that this would also have a ripple effect on other EU nations.
Petra de Sutter, the Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium from Groen, states that:
"A strong Green voice in Germany is a strong Green voice in Europe. The Greens being in government in Germany is the best guarantee that Europe can move towards an energy transition, climate neutrality, and sustainability. I am eagerly looking forward to the elections on September 26. Annalena and her team are breaking through old bastions of power and creating a new wind of change. I wish them every success and hope to see them soon as representatives of Germany in the European Councils."
Green MEP Ernest Urtasun highlights how Annalena Baerbock could help fast-track the ecological transition:
"The German Government has lacked political ambition in the last decade. We need a majority in Germany to lead Europe into a speedy ecological transition, new fiscal framework and a stronger voice in the world. Annalena Baerbock is the best candidate for that job."
Green MEP Michael Bloss comments on the importance of a win for the German Greens in September for climate action at the European level. He states that:
"This could tip the scales and hopefully bring the Council to more progressive climate decisions. We can see this at the state level in Baden-Württemberg. There we have a Green government and the differences we have seen are immense. That is why I expect a lot from a Green government at the federal level, not only for our national climate policy, but also for European climate policy! This is why we are doing everything we can to finally have a Green government in Germany. This is why it's worth fighting for!"
Mélanie Vogel, the Advisor on Constitutional Affairs of the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament, and Committee Member of the European Greens, stated that:
"A Green government would not only be the best thing that could happen to Germany, it would also be a powerful source of solutions for so many citizens all over the continent. Those who are ready for change, who want to see a strong Europe tackling climate change, fighting social injustices and protecting democracy know that this is only possible with an ambitious German government and that only Annalena Baerbock can bring this ambition."
We do not know today what the next decade holds – but if the last year has taught us anything, we know that it is vital to prioritise mitigating the climate crisis, strengthen democracy, and take a deeper look at how EU policy can work for EU citizens. With the German Greens in government, we can ensure that a Green Recovery takes place in Europe!