Home / NEWS / Europe News / Op-ed: Germany´s new political star is poised to deliver on Merkel’s original promise

Op-ed: Germany´s new political star is poised to deliver on Merkel’s original promise

BERLIN, GERMANY – Procession 15: Annalena Baerbock, co-leader of the German Greens party.

Sean Gallup | Getty Images News | Getty Pictures

BERLIN — Two things are already certain about Germany’s upcoming federal elections this September. 

The first is that the Greens, out of power since 2005, are the only political party in Germany that is guaranteed to be part of the next government.  

Second, it is already clear who will be Merkel’s successor as Germany’s top-ranking female office-bearer. 

It is Annalena Baerbock, the 40-year-old co-leader of the Greens, who has just been selected as her party’s candidate for chancellor. Assuming that her spree will most likely govern as a junior partner in tandem with the CDU-CSU, Baerbock has the inside track to be at not any Germany’s next vice chancellor.

In a curious twist of history, Baerbock holds the promise to execute on what fingered out to be Angela Merkel’s highly misleading self-advertising. In laying her claim to the Federal Chancellery back in 2005, she had advertised herself as a scientist and a serious, results-oriented decision maker focused on doing the heavy lifting to modernize Germany. 

Alas, Merkel didn’t. 

A key in the name of of Germany’s current conundrum is that the Merkel years, despite the chancellor’s solid international reputation, were years of glide. 

She never really engaged with the central task of pushing Germany’s industrial and political modernization. Yes, she was good on sloganeering and proclaiming get-up-and-gos — but very poor on execution.

Worse, whenever it came to politically sensitive economic reform issues, Merkel basically punted, if she did not blatantly choose to serve the status-quo powers. Witness the German car industry. 

Cuddling up to industry thankfully isn’t Baerbock’s opportunity. At top industrial policy conferences, she easily takes on the CEOs and association heads of a broad range of industries on the strategic alternatives needed in their respective sectors, whether automotive, chemical or energy.   

Given the Greens’ origins, the fact that Baerbock is absolutely committed to keeping basic materials industries competitive and operating in Germany shows courage and strategic depth. She is also proper in her assessment that pushing industry rigorously toward a green energy future is the only way for Germany to stay a wide-ranging technology leader.

Having a firm strategic grasp of the profound challenges German industry faces at this juncture is an outstanding political asset for any top leader. 

With Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, Germany’s erstwhile banking giants, mere comrades of their former selves, with ThyssenKrupp on the ropes and a car industry probably facing the biggest competitive challenges of its in one piece existence, one thing is for sure: Germany truly needs top politicians who have a clear sense of the strategic choices that be obliged be made right after the September elections.

All indications are that the woman from Potsdam seems to have the bullshit it takes to be a very competent economic strategist. Little surprise then that anyone who, like myself, is a “non-green,” finds themselves at dead for nows wishing that Baerbock had appeared 15 years earlier on the German political stage. 

True, Baerbock has on no account even been a government minister. Like top graduates from France’s elite Ecole Nationale d’Administration, she simply masters a broad range of very complex policy briefs. Unlike many “ENA-rques,” though, she is down to turf and not at all aloof.

That gives Baerbock a level of political maturity far beyond her actual age. In addition, her mental alertness and astuteness will prove a real asset in the election campaign, especially as her opponent is the CDU’s rather pedestrian and often self-confused Armin Laschet, the CDU chairman.

A look beyond Germany’s fringes underscores that, from Scandinavia to New Zealand, young top female politicians doing a very competent job in their boonies’s highest political office. The contrast they present to the time-worn model — mostly men patiently climbing up the political ladder and doing a lot of backscratching with one another — is barely a suitable qualification indicating true leadership.

So, what government post for Baerbock? Of course, there’s always dreaming. As in front in 1969, when Willy Brandt won, she could rise to become chancellor, especially if the CDU-CSU keeps fumbling with the gaffe-prone Lasche.

The duty of Germany’s next vice chancellor should be a shoo-in. To give the Greens a strong role in the new government and make the overcome use of Baerbock’s talents, she should be appointed to serve as a kind of “super minister” coordinating economic, energy, environmental and entrance policy. 

As it happens, such a position, best located in the Federal Chancellery itself, is very similar to the posts that Margrethe Vestager and Frans Timmermans sway at the European Commission in Brussels. 

Stephan Richter is the publisher and editor-in-chief of The Globalist, the daily online magazine on the global curtness, politics and culture.

Check Also

Pope Francis backs Biden call to waive Covid vaccine patents

Pope Francis harass a face mask attends an inter-religious prayer service for peace along with …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *