It is probably the most important speech in the career of Annalena Baerbock: After the election as Chancellor candidate with 98.5 percent, Baerbock appears in a hall in Berlin-Kreuzberg in front of the party members – and with livestream and TV broadcast also in front of a large audience in Germany. It is a chance to correct the image of the candidate.
Most recently, Baerbock stumbled upon errors in her resume and reported secondary income. In polls, she lost support faster than Martin Schulz as an SPD candidate in 2017. So the performance must sit. And so the speech also seems; as if Baerbock had practiced it several times before. She, after making a promise, repeats the previous sentence, so as not to get out of concept. Keep checking your manuscript for security. She is disciplined, but when Baerbock leaves the podium, the microphone is still on. “Shit,” she says to Robert Habeck. Whether this curse referred to her speech or her promise – Baerbock is considered a perfectionist – is unclear.
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Early on, Baerbock makes it clear what the Greens want: to move into the Chancellery and govern Germany, but also change the country according to their ideas. That’s what Baerbock’s speech is supposed to pay for. “A policy that is limited only to managing the status quo does not bring security,” says Baerbock. “Change brings security.”The “upheaval” should become a “departure”, she says several times. It seems like an attempt to deliver a green “jerk through Germany”speech. But Baerbock remains defensive and adheres to her manuscript and the election program of the Greens, to which the base has so far largely agreed.
This is the case, for example, with industrial policy: Baerbock and the eco-Party are proposing a pact for climate neutrality for the economy. “It is about a binding agreement that the state compensates companies for those costs that they have to pay in addition until now if they want to become climate – neutral-made in Germany,” promises Baerbock. Because the markets of the future are climate neutral.
Baerbock’s faulty CV
On several occasions, the candidate for Chancellor speaks of “climate-friendly prosperity” or “social-ecological market economy”. Ludwig Erhard’s concept of the social market economy, which Baerbock recently wrongly attributed to the Social Democrats, is en vogue in the election campaign. For the Greens, this means setting a framework that is compatible with the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees.
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Baerbock reminds of the fight against the ozone hole. Contrary to the fears of the industry, the ban on the propellant CFCs has triggered innovations. Today, no one misses CFCs in his refrigerator. It will be the same with oil heaters and internal combustion engines.
After the debate on higher gasoline prices, Baerbock also emphasizes the importance of taking citizens with her in the transformation of the economy. “I know very clearly that not everyone has the opportunity to switch from cars to trains or bicycles. That it makes a difference how high the price of gasoline is.”That is why the Greens called for the introduction of an energy allowance for each citizen in the amount of 75 euros. In addition, electricity prices should fall due to a lower EEG surcharge.
When it comes to the exit from coal, Baerbock speaks not only of further qualifications for miners, but also of personal appreciation – and tries his hand at this: “The prosperity of our country is built on the work of coal miners and their families.”Mining is a regional identity. Pride in one’s own actions should lead to the future. There he was again, the sound for the green plans. Whether miners can be convinced of this, however, remains to be seen.
Although the issues of climate and economy shape the election campaign, Baerbock avoids addressing political opponents directly most of the time. Only on the issue of children’s rights does she attempt a direct attack. Earlier this week, the inclusion of children’s rights in the Constitution failed due to opposition from the Union. “It is a testimony of poverty that the CDU and CSU have refused to write strong children’s rights into the Basic Law,” says Baerbock and takes this point with him at the end of this week.
On another social topic, Baerbock also becomes clear and receives applause. “Racism and anti-Semitism are not opinions,” says the 40-year-old. “Those who wash around here are dragging the ground under the feet of liberal democracy. There is no trivialization here, no looking away.”It’s a strong sentence-at a questionable time. Because the day before, the publicist Carolin Emcke had suggested at the Green Party congress that, according to the Jews, climate scientists could become the new victims of conspiracy theories. There was sharp criticism from several parties. Also to Baerbock. Because she and her co-party chairman Robert Habeck were silent.
Part of her speech is devoted to Baerbock’s foreign policy positions. She once again opposes Nord Stream 2 and calls for Europe to become independent of Chinese state interests in the development of critical infrastructure. A European “Green Deal” should strengthen the “Transatlantic Alliance for Climate Neutrality”. And a majority principle should apply in the EU so that one state cannot block 26 others. In practice, it has been questionable for years how Hungary could be forced to accept more migrants in majority decisions. Baerbock also does not become concrete. “Our future is Europe,” she concludes, knowing full well that it does not provoke debate.
In the end, Baerbock tries to distance himself from Angela Merkel (CDU). The Chancellor, whose policies the Greens support almost unconditionally in the pandemic and the refugee crisis. A chancellor on whose voters Baerbock partly hopes to become her successor. “In recent years, government policy in Germany has been on autopilot. In a way, this has always been the line of the undogmatic conservatives,“ says Baerbock, without mentioning Merkel by name. Politics was what seemed feasible. “For us, politics is all about what we make possible.”The election campaign is a duel with the Union. “For the first time in decades, real change is in the air,” says Baerbock at the end of her 40-minute speech. “Now is the moment to renew our country. And everything is in it.“
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