The conservative candidate to succeed Angela Merkel, Armin Laschet, sought to boost his green credentials on Monday and pledged to turn Germany into a “climate-neutral industrial nation” by 2045.
The green push is part of a larger effort to revive Laschet’s ailing election campaign, which includes proposals on digitalization, security, family and education policy, and strengthening Germany’s middle class to be rolled out in the coming weeks.
“On climate policy, we are banking on innovation, on market-based mechanisms,” Laschet said at a press conference in Berlin, where he also unveiled a policy paper titled “A turbo for renewables” and an expert team to tackle the green transition.
Laschet called his party’s approach on climate “more promising than the bans … [proposed by] the Social Democratic Party and the Greens,” which he said threaten to kill jobs and cause social unrest.
The 10-page paper includes proposals to cut red tape for the installation of wind turbines and remove taxes for renewables and seeks to flesh out ideas put forward in the CDU/CSU alliance’s election program, which was criticized for lacking ambition on green targets.
Laschet’s comments come on the heels of a middling performance in a televised election debate on Sunday. A post-debate poll showed viewers judged his performance to be poorer than his opponents, the Social Democrats’ candidate Olaf Scholz and the Greens’ Annalena Baerbock.
According to POLITICO’s Poll of Polls, the CDU/CSU is neck-and-neck with Scholz’s SPD at 21 percent, while the Greens are polling at 18 percent.
GERMANY NATIONAL PARLIAMENT ELECTION POLL OF POLLS
For more polling data from across Europe visit POLITICO Poll of Polls.
Laschet also used Monday’s press conference to attack Scholz, saying he lacked innovative ideas during Sunday’s debate and deriding his attempts to portray himself as a continuation of Angela Merkel’s leadership by imitating her famous hand gesture: “Replicating the rhombus doesn’t give you the gravitas of a chancellor,” Laschet said.