Merkel’s Possible Green Successor Touts Close U.S. Relationship

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The co-leader of Germany’s Green Party, Annalena Baerbock, highlighted her party’s common ground with the U.S. government in areas ranging from human rights to climate change, drawing up her trans-Atlantic priorities in the event that she succeeds Angela Merkel as chancellor in this year’s general election.

“We as Europeans, and we as German Greens are not very far apart from the current U.S. administration”, Baerbock said on Thursday at a virtual event of the Atlantic Council. “We can say as Europeans that we don’t want products on our common market produced by forced labor,” she said in reference to China.

Merkel’s Possible Green Successor Touts Close U.S. Relationship

A common stance won’t mean a break in trade relations with China, which Baerbock said is about balancing human rights and economic interests.

Since being appointed as her party’s candidate for chancellor in the September vote, Baerbock has become a favorite to form the next government in Europe’s largest economy as the country’s two traditional blocks, Merkel’s CDU and the Social Democratic Party, struggle to resonate with voters. Merkel has said she won’t run again after 16 years.

Under her leadership, Baerbock said Germany and the U.S. could move even closer together than has previously been the case, highlighting the opportunity to create a “transatlantic Green deal.” Both the Biden administration and the German Greens would fight for the same goals, like a CO2 neutral economy and social justice, she said.

The Green leader demanded a more active German and EU foreign and defense policy. U.S. troops should stay in Germany as long as there existed an “efficient” cooperation with military forces in Europe, she said. At the same time, Baerbock questioned Germany’s commitment to Nato’s spending goal of 2% of member countries’ GDP, expressing doubt that the target is “state of the art.”

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