Germany’s Belbok breaks between the Green Party and the Merkel era

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Annalena Belbok update

The leader of the German Green Party vowed that if her party comes to power in September, it will take a hard line against China and Russia and reform Europe’s fiscal rules. The policies are very different.

In a rare interview with foreign media, the Green Party prime minister candidate Annalena Belbok called for changes to the budget deficit and debt levels of EU member states if her party enters the government after the federal election on September 26. Loose restrictions.

“The main lesson of the euro crisis is that austerity policies may eventually kill the economy,” she said, which is why fiscal reforms are needed. “Germany and Europe need to be the engines of innovation again.”

She is also tougher than her main rival in foreign policy. She suggested that the European Union impose import tariffs on state-backed Chinese companies and sanction the real estate assets of individuals connected to the Russian Putin regime.

Balbok accused the Merkel administration of being weak towards Moscow, especially when it came to Its support for the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline.

For Russia, “you must seek dialogue when possible, but be tough when needed,” she told the Financial Times in a joint interview with the French Le Monde and the Austrian Standard newspaper on her neon green campaign bus.

Baerbock is a 41-year-old congressman with no government experience. She made history in April. Nominated as the first prime minister candidate of the Green PartyEarly polls indicated that she might even succeed Merkel as the leader of Germany.

Since then, her ratings have declined, but the election is still open, the Green Party, polling About 20% can still play an important role in the coalition government, which will set a course for Germany after Merkel.

The signature policy of her party is to achieve a comprehensive transformation of the German economy to carbon neutrality within 20 years. The Green Party hopes to increase the carbon price to 60 Euros per ton from 2023, raise the price of gasoline by 16 cents per liter, and promote the large-scale expansion of renewable energy.

Their most ambitious proposal is a 10-year expenditure plan of 500 billion euros, mainly funded by public borrowings, to help the industry develop a climate-neutral business model and refurbish shaky infrastructure.

“The prosperity of this country is based on our industry, and if this success is to continue in the future, Germany must achieve climate neutrality,” Balbok said. “Climate change has become a key factor in business competition,” she added, citing future industries such as electric vehicles and green steel.

To help fund the transition, the Green Party hopes to reform Germany’s “debt brake,” the constitutional limit on new borrowing.They also want to change EU Stability and Growth Agreement, Limiting budget deficits and debt levels, and allowing member states to make more public investments in areas such as climate protection and the digital economy.

Baerbock emphasized her pro-EU qualifications. “We want Germany to become the driving force of European integration again,” she said. “We need European sovereignty, and we can only achieve this goal if Germany is really keen to advance Europe’s key issues.”

But the Green Party’s idea of ​​debt has not been widely accepted. Armin Raschelt Merkel’s center-right CDU/CSU and Olaf Schultz As Finance Minister, the Social Democratic Party, which led Germany through the pandemic, opposed reforming Germany’s debt brake or EU fiscal rules.

Baerbock and her co-leader Robert Habeck turned the Green Party into a more suitable party for centrists who aspire to stability, and built bridges with businesses © Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz/Bloomberg

As a candidate for change, Baerbock is trying to strike a balance-but not too many changes.

German voters often make the response to global warming a top priority for investigations.However they also showed unwillingce Vote green on election day, worrying about the drastic changes that the Eco-Party may bring.In the past, critics described it as Prohibition, The party who loves forbidden things.

But in the past three years, Belbok and her co-leader Robert Habeck have transformed the Green Party into a force ready to take power. They made the party better cater to centrists who aspire to stability and built bridges with companies. The Green Party, once known for its pacifist members, now has the toughest foreign policy of any mainstream party.

Baerbock advocated that the EU impose higher EU import tariffs on products of Chinese companies that do not comply with European environmental or labor laws or products subsidized by the Chinese government.

She rejected the idea that Germany should relax with China because it requires Beijing’s cooperation on climate change issues. She said that China will pursue a climate-neutral policy based on “absolute self-interest” anyway.

The Baltic and Central European countries and the United States will also cheer for her opposition to the North Stream 2 pipeline, which critics say will enable Russia to cut off the supply of natural gas through Ukraine.

Most German politicians support this pipeline, believing that they can prevent pressure on Ukraine by threatening to impose sanctions on Moscow. But Belbok believes this is unrealistic, and pointed out that Europe has tried many times to prevent Russian intervention, but they all ended in failure.

“Some people seem to be more willing to close their eyes to reality, hoping it won’t be that bad,” she said. “This usually doesn’t work for Russia.”

Whether Balbok can achieve such a change in the next administration is unclear. Her approval rate has dropped recently because she resisted allegations of plagiarism and modification of her resume. Some commentators even called on her to hand over her candidacy to Habaek to improve the party’s chances of entering the government.

Baerbock boasted of her background as a competitive trampoline player, saying that she had never considered such a move. “I used to be a female athlete. If you said after the preliminaries that you don’t want to continue the competition, then you should not participate in the competition at the beginning.”

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