Baerbock and Laschet are at odds when it comes to European policy

Finally, the German conservatives (CDU/CSU) have presented an election manifesto. Armin Laschet, the candidate for chancellor, promises a resolute “business as usual”. This does not fit in well with the Greens’ programme, and in European policy it does not fit at all.

When Armin Laschet describes himself, he likes to list what he has in common with Chancellor Merkel and President Macron. As a Rhenish Catholic from Aachen, he stands between the two – and is thus quite well placed to move EUropa forward.

But his election programme is less suitable for this. It contains only platitudes on European policy, there is no clear orientation. Worse still, it is hardly compatible with the programme of the most likely coalition partner – the Greens.

With Black-Green (or Green-Black) nothing fits:

  • Fiscal policy. The CDU/CSU want a return to the black zero and the Euro Stability Pact. The Greens want neither. The debt-financed reconstruction fund is critical: the CDU/CSU want to phase it out after five years, while the Greens want to make it permanent and continue to incur debt. This is incompatible.

  • Refugees: CDU/CSU want to expand Fortress EUropa and extend the Turkey deal. The Greens sharply attack Frontex and want a different Turkey policy (which one?). That doesn’t quite fit together, but it doesn’t have to be a stumbling block. It will be more difficult when it comes to sea rescue – there it doesn’t fit together at all.

  • Climate protection: The Christian Democrats are backing new technologies and emissions trading. The Greens are backing green electricity and emissions trading with socially acceptable redistribution. Although the Green candidate Baerbock likes to give the impression that she is much more radical, this fits together just as well as von der Leyen and Bütikofer in Brussels…

  • Foreign policy: An exciting point, because here the fronts have reversed. Baerbock plays the ardent transatlanticist, Laschet flirts with Macron and doesn’t want to mess with Russia. No wonder that the transatlanticists are all over Baerbock – when she talks about EUropa, she sounds like an American…

  • EU reform: The Greens want a federal – i.e. “United States of Europe”, CDU/CSU are keeping a low profile. In the Merkel era, the Christian Democrats have lost their European policy compass – anyone who asks them about the “finality” remains without an answer. Is it because the “German Europe” that Merkel created is to remain?

All in all, there is no coherent picture – nothing fits straight away. With the SPD and the Left Party, on the other hand, greater overlaps can be discerned from the Greens’ point of view. But these are not being used; Baerbock only expresses criticism with the handbrake on.

Should a black-green coalition be formed, we will have to prepare ourselves for European policy contortions. Here, quantum leaps would actually be necessary…

This post was first published on the Blog “Lost in EUrope”. More English posts here