The Guardian’s take on German politics: is green the new normal? | Editorial


TThese are exhilarating days to be a German Green. Last month Die Grünen chose Annalena Baerbock, 40, as candidate for chancellor in the September federal election. Since then, there has been a huge influx of new members excited by the prospect of what is shaping up to be a generational shift in the country’s politics. According to the latest polls, the party is fighting for first place with or is before of the Christian Democratic Union, mired in the difficulties related to Covid, including corruption scandal and dissatisfaction with the slow roll-out of the immunization program.

There have been green revivals in the past that have proven to be fleeting. Following the Fukushima nuclear disaster 10 years ago, the party enjoyed a historic increase in support, only to disappointingly collapse in the 2013 election. This time it’s very different. The Greens are already part of the coalition governments in 11 of the 16 German Länder. Their survey ratings have comfortably eclipsed those of center-left Social Democrats over the past 12 months, and pragmatic leadership has been careful to woo the mainstream on foreign policy issues such as commitment to the ‘NATO. A striking investigation for a German business magazine found that more business executives preferred the idea of ​​Ms Baerbock as the next chancellor to Armin Laschet, 60, the somewhat lackluster CDU candidate.

So it seems very likely that the next German federal government will have a strong green component, and it could even be led by the Greens. The timing would make him a continental game changer. The German Greens have the potential to become the driving force behind a rehabilitation of progressive politics in Europe, where center-left parties have struggled to unite older blue-collar voters with the younger generations who have grown up in the era. post-industrial.

The Greens would to commit Germany to a 70% reduction in national carbon emissions by 2030, compared to 55% from the current target. Such an increase in the stake, placing Germany in line with the Paris agreement’s goal of limiting global heating to 1.5 ° C, is a gamble. The level of disturbance would be considerable; According to some estimates, the accelerated shift to electric vehicles and increasing automation will lead to job losses. The areas most affected are probably the German equivalents of the economically depressed regions which launched the French protest movement of yellow vests. To promote a just transition to a green economy, Ms. Baerbock and her colleagues have promised a $ 500 billion government spending program and said they would drop the so-called debt brake, a constitutional limit on government borrowing. A 50% increase in social benefits would also be on the agenda, as well as a wealth tax.

This is a very ambitious thing in a country as fiscally conservative as Germany. But convincing voters and the markets that it can be done – and funding the meaningful regeneration of post-industrial regions – is the essential task facing all progressive parties today. The launch of Joe Biden’s $ 2.25 billion green jobs plan sets a precedent that money can be spent. In 2011, when Die Grünen jumped in the polls, a magazine suggested that “green is the new black”, a play on the color traditionally associated with the CDU. This time around, as the climate emergency sets the main parameters of policy, party supporters are hoping that, out of necessity, green can become the new normal.


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