On April 20, Germany’s ruling CDU / CSU finally elected a successor to Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany’s September 2021 general election: Armin Laschet. A few days earlier, the German Greens had elected its own chancellor, young and old Annalena Baerbock.
On the same day that Laschet’s election was confirmed, a pre-bombing investigation showed that support for German Greens was 28% higher than ever before. Only 21% of those surveyed said they were planning to vote for the CDU / SCU Union at the same poll. Since then this lead has been established and the Greens will go ahead with the CDU by voting for the first time, indicating that the incumbents who have ruled Germany for the past 16 years could be removed as the most powerful party in the Bundestag in September.
Opinions have already begun about what the chancellorship of Green Baerbock could mean in Germany and beyond. And there are few places where such a major political quake could be felt as close to Germany in the East.
This is not the only reason for Germany’s recurrence of Central European countries such as Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia and others.
The economic downturn in Germany, as well as the political ties that have developed between the Central European countries during Merkel’s era, mean that the Green Government in Berlin could drastically change regional performance.
Over the past two decades, trade between Germany and Central European countries has grown exponentially. Sales between Poland and Germany alone grew from $ 15.7bn in 2003 to $ 87.5bn in 2014, an increase of 457%. By 2019, that figure had risen to $ 148 billion. In addition, climate services from Central and Eastern Europe are important for agricultural activities in Germany, and German automotive companies have opened large factories in several European countries such as Slovakia, Czechia, Hungary and Poland.
In the meantime, in Berlin Central European governments have found a political ally. The German CDU is a prominent member of the European People’s Party (EPP), an important body in promoting political cooperation in Europe. This is especially true in Central and Eastern Europe, in many ways the “heart” of the EPP. Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary are all controlled by EPP-affiliated parties. These governments are naturally close to Berlin.
But all of that could change in September with Green’s victory in the general election.
The European central governments with the EPP are not very similar to the German Greens. The right-wing government of PiS or the leadership of the Czechia people is not in harmony with the left-wing nature. Apart from that, with the exception of Austria, where they rule in alliance with EPP allies, the Green parties in Central Europe remain politically neutral.
Despite Baerbock’s departure from the party, the Green Party in the forthcoming general elections in Germany is still an important part of Berlin and Central Europe since the European Union grew in the region in the early 2000s.
Poland’s PiS has had enough space with Berlin and Brussels despite being a chancellor of independence in Germany. It’s hard to see how he wouldn’t argue so much with Green. The same is true in Hungary and Slovenia.
However, the increase in labor, goods and trade between Germany and the rest of Central Europe could cause Berlin and its eastern neighbors to close even if they are under the chancellorship of Green.
In addition, if he takes over the German leadership in September, the Greens will have the opportunity to move regional governments on what is most important: climate change.
Many Central European countries are known to be lagging behind in Europe for climate change. Poland, for example, still derives 70% of its energy from coal, and is one of only three European countries whose gas prices have risen in the last 10 years. Poland and Hungary are also the main opposition parties to the European Green New Deal. Climate is not the hardest thing in the region, either. Many Europeans have recognized migration, not climate change, as the biggest problem facing the EU today.
Central Europe’s electorate’s lack of interest in climate change combined with local government violence against Green politics could make it difficult for German Greens to force the region to take action on climate change. Add to that the intense interest in nuclear power by Central European governments compared to the Greens’ nuclear warheads in Germany and there is no trace of hostility when it comes to European policy.
However, Green’s chancellorship could still use Germany’s wealth to move Central European whites into politics and green policy.
Central European countries oppose green policies primarily because they believe that going green could harm their economy. They are also concerned about impacts that could affect other destructive industries such as coal.
If Baerbock can show the economic potential of green change to its German neighbors in the east, it could encourage many to join in the fight against climate change. Central European countries may be particularly receptive to the idea of receiving funding to replace the destructive industries and to build green infrastructure.
Central Europe will not change Green overnight but by September, Germany will end. What it will mean in Central Europe is a new political divide, as well as new opportunities. Which can be achieved not only in green Germany, but also in green Europe. Green in Central Europe, at least.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editor of Al Jazeera.