Robert Habeck plans a socio-ecological market economy

Robert Habeck

New Federal Minister for the Economy and Climate Protection.

(Photo: Getty Images)

Berlin The renewed self-image of the venerable Federal Ministry of Economy was already radiating when the newly appointed minister Robert Habeck (the Greens) did not even have a voice. His predecessor Peter Altmaier announced on Wednesday during the handover that he had previously sent a farewell letter by e-mail. Altmaier explained that he wanted to save wood and protect the environment: “Dear Robert Habeck, we move with the times.”

Altmaier may move with the times, but Habeck wants to start a new era at the Federal Ministry of Economy. He made this clear when handing over. Habeck formulated his goal for the next four years as nothing less than transforming a social market economy into a socio-green market economy: “If we can do this, we will make history together.”

He was already writing history with the reorganization of the ministry. The Federal Ministry for Economy and Climate has become the Federal Ministry for Economy and Climate Protection. Habeck should manage the path to climate neutrality centrally from his ministry.

For this, among others the climate department of the Ministry of the Environment. This will make it easier for Habeck to vote in some departments, “because it just doesn’t have to happen,” commented Altmaier’s predecessor.

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It is also praised by the business lobbies. Joachim Lang, CEO of the German Industry Federation (BDI), said: “Placing climate protection in the business division is in line with BDI’s view that industry can and wants to be a key problem-solver on the path to a sustainable economy. “

Habeck spoke of the “ambitious goals” he faced. By 2030, CO2 emissions would have to be cut by 65 percent. To be successful, ministry work must be guided by “idealistic pragmatism.” “The ideological debate should not be the signature of the next four years.”

“Competitiveness is the tradition of this house”

Habeck brought the bracelet for Altmaier’s farewell. This closed the circle for the former and new economy minister. They first met in 2012. In Schleswig-Holstein, they went hiking in the mudflats and talked, among others, about the litter problem in the seas, which is also caused by the remains of fishing nets.

And the bracelets are now made from only the scraps of fishing nets. A colorful recycled bracelet for the outgoing federal minister? Habeck quipped, “It’s a bit hippie, I admit. But I’m also from a hippie party.

Habeck has repeatedly explained that his future political style will not be shaped by hippie ideas and the ideology of doing-good without regard to the economy. He was aware that contradictions would also collide within the ministry in the future. “Competitiveness is a tradition of this company and a condition for a successful change,” said Habeck.

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To combine economic success with climate protection, he wants to do it like a skat. He wants to “walk through the villages” – a style of card game in which the player does not try to defeat the opponent with all his strengths, but proceeds with caution.

No grace period for the new minister

He always wanted to seek dialogue with the victims, environmental organizations and the economy. Also in the service of Habeck, this should be the style he wants to shape. He wants to be a preacher who always has an open ear. “Argue me, tell me what you think. I will, too, until you get irritated by my questions.

Habeck does not have easy tasks ahead of him and he will not get a grace period. Already on the way to the ministry, he announced that there would be ad hoc decisions, for example, to support the economy plagued by the corona pandemic and preliminary measures to accelerate the development of renewable energy.

If Habeck had trouble sleeping because of all the assignments, he might have taken Altmeier’s gift – the predecessor had brought a book for Habeck: “If you can’t sleep at night, take the book.” the new minister also handed over the book to her predecessor. Despite the new image in the Ministry of Economy, and now also in the Ministry of Climate, the gentlemen indulged in so much paper.

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