Great news from the German Greens (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen): Annalena Bearbock, the party co-leader since 2018, will be running for Chancellor in Germany. With Baerbock, the German Greens go into this race with a passionate, strong, and empathetic candidate. She is the first ever green candidate for Chancellorship and the only woman in the race to replace Angela Merkel.
Every era has its candidate: now is the time for Annalena Baerbock!
Baerbock studied politics and law at the University of Hamburg, before completing a Masters in international law at the London School of Economics in 2005—the year during which she first joined the German Greens. Since 2013, she has held a seat in the Bundestag (the German federal parliament) for the state of Brandenburg. Most recently, she has played a key role in the Greens' rise as the co-lead of the German Greens alongside Robert Habeck.
With Annalena Baerbock as Chancellor candidate, the German Greens are well positioned to govern and take on the task of addressing the climate crisis. With her candidacy, she makes an 'offer to the entire society', and states that:
"Climate change is the task of our time, the task of my generation."
Baerbock's steadfast commitment to addressing the climate crisis and tackling social inequalities, as well as her journey with the German Greens, showcases her dedication to the core issues of our time. As a woman with two children, she is an inspiring force for women and girls who aspire to enter the political arena. She also brings with her an understanding of the European dimension, having been part of the executive board of the European Green Party between 2009 and 2012. She and Robert Habeck have done a lot during the years to lead the Party and ensure its cohesiveness. Now, they will work together to lead the campaign as a team!
Strong Greens play a vital role for the future of the European Union
The German Greens' draft election manifesto includes proposals for better quality of life through climate neutrality, social justice, new good quality jobs, and the promotion of citizen projects in the energy transition, amongst others. The party will debate and vote on in the beginning of June. With this draft proposal, the German Greens already put forward an ambitious proposal on their vision of how they want to reform and shape the European Union in the years to come:
"Our fixed star for the further development of the European Union is the Federal European Republic."
In the last years, the German national government has mainly attracted attention as an obstacle to EU policies and progress. This is why strong Greens play such a vital, central role for the future of the European Union -- especially considering the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The German Greens have committed themselves to fight for climate neutrality much before 2050; a much-needed stance considering this week's conclusion on the European Climate Law.
Ending the extreme austerity pressure by reforming the Growth and Stability Pact is key for a post-pandemic EU. In the draft proposal, the German Greens take a clear stance on trading policy: free trade agreements must be in line with the Paris agreement and the European Green Deal. They therefore reject the Mercosur agreement as well as the ratification of CETA in its current form. As Greens, they have also advocated for a foreign and security policy that centres democracy, justice and human rights, maintaining a strong voice towards Russia and China, for example. A climate foreign policy should guide the EU's common foreign and security policy.
A different way of doing politics
Baerbock stands for renewal rather than the status quo. In her announcement, she emphasised that the party is running to fight for political change:
"As Greens we stand for change, protecting the status quo is for other parties and candidates."
Through her candidacy, Baerbock proposes to lead a diverse and strong Germany into a 'good future'. She has been clear and transparent about what taking action on climate means for people and advocates for "a way of making politics that is anticipatory, that dares new things, that listens to the people and dares to ask things from people."
Throughout the pandemic, she highlights how the German citizens have surpassed themselves—and that now it is up to politicians to do the same. She states that: "A new chapter begins today for our party and, if we do it well, for our country as well."
A potential watershed moment for the Greens
If the Greens surge in Europe's largest country, it would be a watershed moment not only for the party but for all of Europe, where Greens are already part of the governing coalitions in six EU countries: Ireland, Finland, Luxembourg, Belgium, Sweden, and Italy.
Annalena Baerbock will be in conversation with Vula Tsetsi, Committee member of the European Greens, at the 33rd European Greens Council, happening on 25-29 May. Register now to hear Baerbock put forward the vision of the German Greens and how to rebuild back better and greener after the pandemic.
Photo: © Urban Zintel