The Greens accept the pact of the new coalition that gives way to Annalena Baerbock as the first foreign minister of Germany
The Greens party approved this Monday the government pact that will make the Social Democrat Olaf Scholz the new chancellor of Germany and therefore, as approved in the coalition agreements, will cede the Foreign Ministry to the environmentalist leader Annalena Baerbock . A designation that will mark a milestone in the history of German diplomacy. She will not only be the first woman to carry this bag, but she will be the youngest person to hold this position: on December 15, she will be 41 years old. But there is more.
Under Angela Merkel , German policy was made mainly in the Chancellery based on rather cautious maneuvers but, according to the will of the Greens, everything points to the fact that as of Wednesday, when the so-called “traffic light coalition” takes office, new winds will blow in Brussels. And some will arrive in hurricanes. Without even having sworn his charge, Baerbock has already given some clues about his next lines of action that, in any case, make it clear that Merkel’s appeasement policy will be a thing of the past.
Never before has the Greens been so influential in European politics and the green party is not willing to miss this opportunity to confront some of the most controversial points on the international scene, including clashes with Moscow, Beijing, Warsaw and Budapest . The coalition agreement says: “We call on the European Commission, as guardian of the treaties, to use and enforce existing rule of law instruments more consistently and more quickly.” A direct one launched directly towards Poland and Hungary and towards the mood of the president of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen .
However, the sharpest darts go to China and Russia . The same agreement speaks of a “clearer language” towards the Putin government, which some analysts already understand as a distancing from the values and premises that are defended in the Kremlin. A return to a kind of cold war? Some political scientists see it this way, but not only against Moscow, but also between the Greens and the Social Democrats. While the party led by the future chancellor advocates a new “Ostpolitik” (policy with the East) that seeks a compromise with Moscow or a continuation of the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, the Greens look the other way. According to environmentalists,the pipeline will further increase the European Union’s dependence on Russian gas supplies and leave Ukraine in the lurch . For Los Verdes “Nord Stream 2 is not a European project since it never had a majority in the European Commission”.
Beyond this project, the relations between Olaf Scholz and Vladimir Putin are also in the spotlight . Except for some situation more typical of political anecdotes, the relationship between Merkel and the Russian leader was full of bright spots. Both have more time in office than most of her colleagues. Putin speaks German, Merkel speaks Russian, and the leader did not spend more hours with any foreign head of state or government, either by phone or in person, than she did with Putin. In these years she has been seen laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow as laughing out loud at the Hannover Fair. According to rumors, many good bottles of red wine have been emptied during the bilateral talks.A distension that many doubt will be repeated with the arrival of Scholz.
But without a doubt, the strongest words go in the direction of Beijing. In an interview with the newspaper “Tageszeitung”, Baerbock assured that “as Europeans, we should not make ourselves smaller than we are” and added that the European market, as one of the largest domestic markets in the world, is an incentive for China. and, without biting his tongue, he alluded to the practice of forced labor in the Asian country. Some words that Beijing did not like and that, shortly after, were refuted through a statement from the Chinese embassy in Berlin that, in a tone never seen during the Merkel government,demanded the future German executive to “build bridges instead of walls.” Indeed, the outgoing foreign minister played a major role in a controversial investment deal between the EU and China, which is now on hold.
In the opposite direction, the magnifying glass is put on the transatlantic links, very bruised during the presidency of Donald Trump . The new minister will have to decide whether to accept the call of US President Joe Biden, who is looking for allies against China, or choose to keep Germany out of that confrontation. Another point to take into account will be whether Berlin decides that the United States withdraw its atomic weapons from Germany or refuses to increase defense spending , as Washington has long demanded.
Yet while Baerbock’s suitability for the Foreign Office is being questioned by political opponents, his party is arming itself for future disputes in and around Europe by hiring top-class staff. Baerbock herself is a political scientist and did a master’s degree in public international law in London, but from the German press names are already being released, with ample experience in consulting and international work, on which the environmental leader could rely to carry out her mission.