The New Market Friendly Eco-Liberals

Simone Peter (left) and Cem Özdemir, co-heads of the new, more business friendly Green Party.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The Green Party is embracing business and the free market as paths to a clean economy instead of viewing them as obstacles.

  • Facts


    • Cem Özdemir and Simone Peter were re-elected as co-heads of the Green Party.
    • The Green Party, first elected to the Bundestag in 1983, now co-governs in nine of Germany’s 16 state governments.
    • In Hessen, the left-of-center Greens govern as the junior partner in a coalition with the conservative Christian Democrats, a possible future model.
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The Greens aren’t known for being great friends of the business community. After being reelected party head by a wide margin, Cem Özdemir had to tell his fellow environmentalists that they shouldn’t pretend “as if earning money is a bad thing per se.”

The 700 delegates at the Green Party’s Sunday conference listened to Mr. Özdemir. They endorsed a new and potentially transformative platform called the “Green New Deal,” which seeks to harness the power of the free market to usher in an era of clean energy.

The idea is to advance Germany’s transition away from fossil fuels by encouraging businesses to go green with a series of carrots and sticks. Companies that don’t move toward greater sustainability would face the threat of higher emissions standards and the withdrawal of public subsidies.

According to Kerstin Andreae, an economy expert in the Green Party’s parliamentary group, some businesses are actually calling for stronger emissions standards, saying it bolsters their competitiveness.

“We will look at which branches and companies are a part of the problem and which are a part of the solution,” Ms. Andreae said of the party’s new business platform.

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