Green economy minister’s “pragmatism” relief for German business elite – opinion
Business leaders in Germany are reacting with relief that the country’s economy and climate minister Robert Habeck from the Green Party is putting economic stability in the country ahead of sticking closely to his party’s demands for fast emissions reduction, Jürgen Flauger writes in an opinion piece for business daily Handelsblatt. “This would have been unthinkable just a few years ago but most managers are very satisfied with the Green economy minister,” Flauger writes. One reason is that many companies by now have accepted that decarbonisation and climate action would become an inherent part of business, he argues. But Habeck also “put pragmatism before ideology” after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing energy crisis has given the minister “a steep learning curve”. Many in the country’s business elite are comforted by Habeck’s strict rejection of a complete ban on Russian energy imports, even though this is likely to irk the Green Party’s voter base. Habeck himself said the reluctance is difficult to explain from a moral point of view but he considers the possibly devastating impact on Germany’s and Europe’s economy a greater evil. Likewise, his visit to Qatar to find alternative suppliers of natural gas “only demonstrated how much the minister is ready to put responsibility for the economy ahead of his own convictions”, Flauger says. This is further demonstrated by Habeck’s readiness to let coal plants run longer and even to assess the options for extending the runtime of Germany’s remaining nuclear plants, he adds.