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The Greens and the Economy Relationship Status Complicated Eco-party and industry could not go together for a long time. In the meantime, both sides have grown closer. But the relationship remains difficult: Many companies are critical of the election program. By Björn Dake.


Robert Habeck, federal chairman of Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen, stands in front of a historical picture of the Leuna works. | dpa

The Greens and the Economy relationship status complicated

Status: 11.06.2021 5:19 p.m.

For a long time eco-party and industry could not go together. In the meantime, both sides have grown closer. But the relationship remains difficult: many companies are critical of the election manifesto. By Björn Dake, ARD capital studio Leuna Chemical Park in Saxony-Anhalt. Robert Habeck is standing on a construction site wearing a white hard hat. A new system for epoxy resin is being built here – including for wind turbine rotor blades. The Green boss listens with interest and keeps asking questions. As a farewell, the boss of the chemical park operator Infraleuna, Christof Günther, gives him a book and says: “We would of course be happy if you might honor us again in a different role.” The chemical industry is looking for contact with the Greens. Who knows if they won’t be in the federal government in a few months and Habeck will be a minister?

End of an enmity

Habeck is still party leader of the Greens alongside Annalena Baerbock. And as such, he seeks proximity to industry: “Chemistry has to become climate-neutral. The best way to do that is to talk to chemistry.” When visiting the election campaign in Leuna, there was no sign of fear of contact. Not anymore, as Habeck emphasizes: “The old hostility, greens and chemistry, where it used to be said: Close everything so that the environment is clean – it has long since become a constructive, creative, searching relationship with one another.”

Lobbyists are lining up

Dieter Janecek is responsible for this relationship. He is the industrial policy spokesman for the Green parliamentary group in the Bundestag. As the MP from Munich reports, the lobbyists are standing in line with him. Almost 50 percent of the election campaign dates are company visits. Many companies also wanted to show what problems they have with the energy transition. According to Janecek, the relationship is not free of tension. For example, the will be discussed The amount of the CO2 price and the question of what the state and what the market regulates. However, he sees the networking between the Greens and business at a high point. Ex-Siemens boss Joe Kaeser will speak at the federal delegates’ conference on the weekend. So are the bosses campaigning for the Green Chancellor candidate Baerbock?

Industry is critical of the election program

Joachim Lang from the Federation of German Industries does not want to make an election recommendation. He also says that relations with the Greens have improved. According to him, the party leadership has begun to be interested in the economy. He is all the more astonished by the Greens’ party program. The BDI chief executive calls it “a tribute to the left party base”. Lang accuses the Greens of wanting to replace the social market economy with state control and redistribution. He means, for example, rent ceilings, a higher top tax rate and a wealth tax.

Economy demands faster climate decisions

The industry association thinks it is good that the Greens want to push investments. In the draft of the election manifesto, on which the Greens delegates will vote on the weekend, there is talk of investments amounting to 50 billion euros per year. The money is to be spent on fast internet, rail expansion, research and urban development. This is to be financed primarily through loans. Regardless of who will rule after the federal election – the industry wants planning security in climate policy. Lang says: “Every new federal government will have to find clear, new decision-making paths because we no longer have the time for the previous decision-making paths.”

Weak economic literacy in state elections

Back in Saxony-Anhalt. Habeck is campaigning in the beer garden on the Peißnitzinsel in Halle. He stands in the shade of some trees and reports on his visit to Leuna. His conclusion: The contrast between climate protection and the economy has always been “stupid”. Climate protection is economic policy and location policy. There is applause from around 100 listeners. But in the state elections in Saxony-Anhalt last Sunday, the Greens won only a few votes. The election analysis shows that the economy and jobs remain weak points for the party. The pollsters of Infratest dimap measure the lowest competence values ​​here.