Merkel is working on a comeback as “climate chancellor” – analysis
At the end of her term in office, German Chancellor Angela Merkel aims to resume her former self-styled role as “climate chancellor”, motivated by the Fridays For Future student protests and the EU election outcome, write Tina Hildebrandt, Petra Pinzler and Mark Schieritz in an analysis in German weekly Die Zeit. Merkel is working on a comeback as manager of the climate crisis, they write: “Like the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in Japan in 2011, the 2019 European elections have been a catalyst for changing the course of the debate. And Merkel is changing course and her party’s course once again.” Merkel’s government reversed legislation to phase out nuclear power in 2010, only to put it back in place again in 2011 under popular pressure after the Fukushima accident.
In the aftermath of the European elections, Merkel said her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) must offer better answers on climate, and that the “easy-peasy” approach to climate action has to end. Merkel’s conservatives and the Social Democrats (SPD) did not fare well in the European elections, rattling their already fragile “grand coalition”, as voters increasingly turn away from established parties in the political centre. Support for the Greens surged amid concerns over the climate crisis, putting the party in second place.