W.Is that the application speech for the office of Minister of Economic Affairs? When Annalena Baerbock gave her keynote address on Friday evening at the virtual party conference of the Greens, it only took a few minutes before she got to talking about the economy. To hold on to the market economy, yes, but it should become more social and ecological.
What the co-chair of the Greens didn’t say, but what ran through her half-hour speech: This market economy should also be guided far more by politics than before. “Not because the state can do better business, but because the economy needs clear conditions,” as Baerbock said. As is so often the case with this topic, she referred to the steel industry, which should produce climate-neutrally in the future, thanks to state subsidies and strict guidelines for the automotive industry, for example, as to the extent to which it has to use “green steel”, even if it is more expensive.
Squint at the Treasury
When Robert Habeck stepped onto the stage at the Berlin Tempodrom on Saturday lunchtime to give his keynote address, he was concentrating on the growing division in society in times of the Corona. But Baerbock’s colleague also insisted on taking a position on economic policy: Germany persists in a financial policy “in which one is more afraid of debts in the books than of debts in reality,” he criticized.
This was followed by a plea for more public investment in schools, swimming pools and sports halls, buses and trains, financed by higher taxes. Interest and capital gains would still be taxed lower than labor, companies like Amazon and Facebook evade German tax authorities. The Greens, according to Habeck, would change that.
It is part of the party leadership’s current We-concentrate-on-the-material credo that it does not speak openly about which ministries it would like to occupy if it should be involved in the next federal government. But behind the scenes the corresponding mind games have long been running.
This includes the fact that the party now considers the foreign ministry, for which it was in talks during the Jamaica negotiations, to be no longer quite as desirable. Too representative, too little room for maneuver, one can hear. The Ministry of Finance, on the other hand, appears to green strategists to be the ideal switchboard to implement the party’s planned EUR 500 billion investment program for the next ten years.
Two years ago Baerbock had one in one Conversation with the “taz” still ponders that the environment ministry would have to be expanded into a super ministry, responsibility for energy would have to be removed from the federal economics ministry and the environment ministry would have to be assigned. Little can be heard of this in the party now. The motto is not to create any contradictions between economy and energy.
Instead, it is now being discussed whether the environment and agriculture should not be bundled in one ministry – even if the Greens are aware that the Union would hardly leave such a ministry to them. Farmers are an important group of voters in the Union, even the policy of Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU) – keyword fertilizer ordinance – is too green for many.