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New Bundeskanzler on collision course with Green top ministers

The Green party leaders Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck succeeded in establishing themselves a prominent position in the German government

By: N. Peter Kramer - Posted: Wednesday, January 5, 2022

According to German daily Bild, Scholz is looking for a ‘fresh start’ for Germany’s policy on Russia and might be planning a meeting with Russian President Putin.
According to German daily Bild, Scholz is looking for a ‘fresh start’ for Germany’s policy on Russia and might be planning a meeting with Russian President Putin.

N. Peter Kramer’s Weekly Column

The Green party leaders Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck succeeded in establishing themselves a prominent position in the German government. They are respectively foreign minister and economy minister in the cabinet of the Social-Democrat Bundeskanzler Olav Scholz, the successor of Angela Merkel.

As the Greens have been vocal advocates of a hard stance vis-a-vis Russia, Baerbock promised ‘harsh diplomatic and economic consequences’ should Russia interfere in Ukraine. But it looks like Scholz wants to make Russia ‘Chefsache’, meaning the foreign minister has to play a smaller role on the issue, because the two have increasingly divergent views on the matter. Scholz has made comments suggesting he wants to take key foreign policy matters into his own hands. Asked whether Baerbock controls Germany’s foreign policy, Scholz had said that the government’s actions ‘start with the chancellor’.

Baerbock’s Green colleague Habeck, has publicly mulled consequences for the gas pipeline, connecting Russia and Germany. Scholz for his part, has called Nord Stream 2 a ‘private sector’ matter that should not be politicised. With his move to take control over the issue himself, Scholz seems to be trying to silence the Greens’ hardline stance on tis subject as well.

According to German daily Bild, Scholz is looking for a ‘fresh start’ for Germany’s policy on Russia and might be planning a meeting with Russian President Putin. Scholz’s foreign policy advisor, Jens Plotner, will meet with his Russian and French counterparts soon, a government spokesperson told journalists yesterday.

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