April 19, 2021

Who is Annalena Baerbock & What do we need to Know about Her?

The Green Party in Germany announced today that Annalena Baerbock will be their candidate for the upcoming elections this fall.

Most of you probably never heard anything about this woman who was born in 1980, won three bronze medals at the German trampoline jumping championships, and holds a master’s degree in “Public International Law” from the London School of Economics—let’s change that.

She has two daughters and started her first political campaign in preschool. At that time, she suggested cancelling the annual carnival festivities because of the war in Iraq. Since her childhood, she had been dreaming of world peace, which led her to study international law and politics. As a person who doesn’t like posing for pictures, she discovered a trick that might help you too: just wiggle your toes while smiling for the camera. It’s safe to say that she is an interesting character.

As an even younger politician than she is today, she was part of the German delegation at the summit that led to the “Paris agreement,” and she loves to refer to the fact that her—at that time six-months-old—daughter was with her at the summit.

Before the announcement of her running for office she was competing within the Green party against Robert Habeck. I have to admit that I had a preference for him, but maybe that’s just because he is a mindful gentlemen, book author…and I like his name.

 

Jokes aside, I am a huge fan of that Habeck. The fact that he decided to step back and support Annalena (most people, especially from her party, usually use her first name when talking about her) is ironically one of the reasons why I admire him so much.

Of course, she needs to win the election first, but her chances are pretty good.

Angela Merkel’s political party is witnessing the clash of two candidates who are both not even close to the popularity of the current chancellor. Another party, the social democrats, also have a candidate, but most people in Germany can agree that Olaf Scholz has no realistic chance of winning the elections with his party trending far below the other two parties for years.

 

When Angela Merkel steps down after 16 years, Germany will decide in which direction the country will be heading. Germans call Merkel “Mutti,” which is a minimization of the word “mother”—and now, it could be the time for Annalena, who could easily be her daughter agewise.

Baerbock’s biggest political goal is achieving “climate-neutral prosperity,” which is similar to the “Green New Deal” progressive democrats are talking about in the United States. The only trouble Joe Biden might have to face if Annalena gets elected is that she is—like most of her supporters—not a big fan of U.S. military forces and nuclear weapons being stationed in Germany.

As a mother of two, she is often compared to Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand, who was the first woman leading a developed nation while raising children. Because of her age, she could be seen as the big sister of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), but during her acceptance speech, she reminded me of someone else as she wrapped up her speech by saying, “we need to stop talking about what we can’t do and start talking about what we can do.”

If someone had told me 20 years ago that the Greens had a realistic chance of governing Germany with the lead of a woman who is only four years older than me, I would have laughed hard, but here we are. Germany has changed, and this fall, we will see how much.

Annalena’s Green party is not only ready to deal with the big topics of our time like climate change, equal rights, and world peace—they protested for that sh*t decades ago before it was even cool.

Go Greens. Go Annalena. Go Europe.

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