Previous articles about Nord Stream 2 and on the rise of the German Greens have briefly mentioned the policies they support and pledge to implement if they come to power in Germany. Lately, the Greens have been ahead of the CDU/CSU in most polls as the Christian Democratic candidate for Chancellor, Armin Laschet, struggles to attract attention and bounce the bloc back from constant decline in support after a number of scandals which have rocked his party.
In March, the Green Party published their draft election programme named ‘Germany. Everything is possible.’ In 137 pages they outlined their ambitious proposals for the next four years. After her appointment as the Green candidate for Chancellor, Annalena Baerbock in her speech mentioned six areas which she wants the Greens to improve, areas which have been overly stretched during the pandemic. What's interesting to note is that climate change was the last thing she mentioned; areas such as education, conditions for care staff and healthcare workers and digitalisation were placed at the top of her list.
So what do they propose?
Economic policies: when it comes to their economic policies, the Greens can definitely be placed on the left of the political spectrum. They place great emphasis on economic justice and fairness. The Greens have proposed a €12 per hour minimum wage in contrast to the decision in October by the grand coalition to raise the minimum wage to €10.45 an hour by mid-2022. The minimum wage was first introduced in Germany in 2015 by the grand coalition. Before that, the country relied on trade unions and business groups to regulate minimum pay.
The Greens also seek to introduce a 1% wealth tax on assets over €2mn, increase income tax for those earning more than €100,000 a year, and increase income tax rate for those earning over €250,000 from 42% to 48%. The party claims that those on average salaries will actually see their taxes go down. The Greens also seek to increase welfare spending by a whopping 50% to help eliminate inequality. Lifting the debt cap is another idea the Greens are supporting; they have in total pledged to spend €500bn over the next decade on economic green transformation and boosting social spending.
With almost 700,000 homeless in Germany, another proposal which is included in the draft programme is a 2.5% cap on rent increases. Like many countries, Germany has been affected by rent hikes and constantly rising property prices. The Greens argue that the right to housing is Basic Law, and seek to strengthen the rights of tenants, make it is easier for first time buyers to buy a home, and end speculation and money laundering in the housing market. The party will also seek to launch a “New Non-Profit Housing” program which aim to provide one million affordable rental housing units in metropolitan areas.
On the environment, the party proposes cutting carbon emissions by 70% by 2030, an increase from the current goal of 55%. Carbon tax hikes will become a reality if the Greens manage to gain power. Short-haul flights are to be replaced by an improved railway system and, by 2030 only emission-free vehicles will be allowed to be registered in the country. The Greens also aim to install solar panels on every new roof and double the number of people using public transport in the next few years. The party is committed to phasing out nuclear energy in Germany, switching instead to wind and solar power.
Improving healthcare and education systems are also among the key policies which the party wants to focus on if given the chance to lead Germany. Their goal is to create a solidarity-funded citizens' insurance, in which everyone receives the care they need regardless of income. They are also developing a new programme for schools in disadvantaged areas and neighbourhoods to give everyone a fair start in life is also one of the key priorities of the party.
On foreign policy, the Greens (unlike the CDU/CSU or SPD) are much more outspoken. Baerbock has already said a number of times that if she becomes Chancellor, she will block the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and revise the EU-China deal due to the human rights abuses carried out by the Chinese authorities on the Uighur population and its erosion of Hong Kong's autonomy.
The party is staunchly pro-EU, but they have pledged that in the EU they will work for the adoption of the 5th Anti-Discrimination Directive. They will also seek closer cooperation with the Biden administration and have called for the renewal of the transatlantic partnership as soon as possible. While the party rejects NATO's 2% of GDP defense spending target they remain committed to the alliance.
You can read more about their proposals here (in German).