What do you value most about politicians?
What do the Greens want when they come to power?
Now it is certain: The Greens will be campaigning for the Bundestag election in September with Annalena Baerbock as candidate for Chancellor. For the first time in their history, the Greens are fully prepared to assume central political power in Germany in a federal government. When they first took part in government, between 1998 and 2005 at the side of the SPD, they stumbled into a coalition that was hardly expected before, with just 6.7 percent in the federal election in autumn 1998. Now, 23 years later, everything is different. The party is stable at over 20 percent in the polls.
Coalitions with almost all other parties in the countries
In recent years, the Greens have also dismantled all barriers to the other parties, with the exception of the right-wing populists from the "Alternative for Germany" (AfD). In the federal states they have worked in coalitions with all other parties, except with the Bavarian CSU. The environmental protection party has long since ceased to be committed to coalitions with the Social Democrats, which was the case for many years. They have never been as flexible as they are now. Some critics say it has never been so content-wise.
Climate protection is a popular central concern of the Greens, especially the expansion of renewable energies.
The culture of constant dispute is a thing of the past
But anyone who has attended and suffered previous party congresses of the Greens, who had to wonder about hours of heated debates and chaotic arguments, is now rubbing their eyes. The Greens are united as never before, stand united behind their party leadership, avoid all ugly attacks on political opponents. Speaking of the constitution that needs to be defended, it sounds so supportive of the state that it is still unfamiliar. Focused and concentrated, they make it clear: nothing should go wrong on the way to power
Climate protection remains central
In terms of content, the following also applies to the Greens more than 40 years after their founding: The focus is on environmental protection, especially the fight against climate change. In their election manifesto, the Greens formulate what their supporters expect from them: The party wants to save 70 percent of greenhouse gases by 2030, a huge target expansion compared to the plan of the current government, which wants to create 55 percent less. To do this, it will be necessary to accelerate the energy transition, ensure the rapid expansion of renewable energies and bring more electric cars to the streets. The other parties want all of this too, but the Greens will have to laboriously enforce their high standards. This is about your brand essence.
Foreign policy continuity
In terms of foreign policy, there will be a lot of continuity with the Greens. Like most other parties, they are counting on a strong Europe, or rather on making the EU strong again, they are counting on a revitalization of the transatlantic relationship. "Get out of NATO", that is what some groups within the party may still think, but the leadership and large parts of the party see it differently. In relation to Russia and China, however, the Greens can be expected to take rather critical approaches; they reject the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, for example, defended by the current government. Time and again they have openly supported opposition groups in China or Russia, including Belarus. In terms of foreign policy, clearer tones can be expected with regard to China, for example, as regards the treatment of the Uighurs.
For a strong, investing state
In terms of economic and social policy, the Greens prefer a strong state and more spending. Their electoral program, which a party congress in June still has to finalize, is teeming with expensive programs, for example for career changers, for more digitization everywhere in Germany, for sustainable investments.
Against hatred on the net: The Greens parliamentary group in September 2019, even before the pandemic.
How that will get along with the empty state coffers after the end of the pandemic remains to be seen. And also how this could be implemented on the side of the CDU and CSU, who have already announced that they want to return to the "black zero" policy, i.e. balanced budgets, as quickly as possible. That is why the Greens have repeatedly made attempts to increase the taxation of higher income earners, which is unlikely to be feasible, especially in a coalition with the CDU and CSU.
Against the further drifting apart of society
In terms of social policy, the Greens focus on the fight against xenophobia and racism, on gender justice. And they want to help reduce polarization in the country. That will be difficult, because especially from the right, many Green politicians are currently seen as the first objects of hatred, such as the Vice President of the Bundestag, Claudia Roth.
A solid foundation, for example in the parliamentary group
The leadership of the Greens, which has rather less administrative experience, can help the solid foundation, for example in the Bundestag parliamentary group and in the federal states. Foreign policy-makers like Omid Nouripour, Europe experts like Franziska Brantner, experienced parliamentarians like the managing director Britta Haßelmann are up for grabs and have strong nerves. Advice from the old veteran Joschka Fischer, to whom many Greens made pilgrimages for many years after his political career ended to get suggestions, is no longer necessary for today's green top people.
Former superfather Joschka Fischer looks, so you can hear, with benevolence at today's Greens. Today's leadership is no longer dependent on his advice.
And then: experience the end of nuclear energy.
If it works with government participation, as a junior partner or even in the Chancellery, then an important circle for the Greens will close in 2022. Then they will see in power how the last nuclear power plant in Germany will be shut down and they will have won a battle that was part of the founding myth of the party. But it is also quite possible that today's Greens will then simply take note of what they are pragmatically.
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