Nord Stream 2 crisis: “Mini-Merkel” Laschet will not resist Russia, warns a former MEP | Politics | New


Germany: Laschet faces ‘battle’ to become chancellor, expert says

And Hans-Olaf Henkel said the current Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia will struggle to gain traction with voters, just months before the close September federal election in which a poll this week has placed his party behind the Greens and their candidate Annalena Baerbock. Nord Stream 2 is highly controversial as it would allow Russia to route its gas supplies directly to Germany, bypassing the Baltic States, Poland and Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden calls on Merkel to make the most of the deal, with sanctions in place against all companies involved, arguing that Berlin’s involvement is inappropriate given Germany’s membership in the NATO.

However, Merkel this week reiterated her commitment and Mr Henkel, who resigned from the European Parliament in 2019, said Mr Laschet was unlikely to reverse his decision.

He said “Regarding Nord Stream 2, Laschet is a supporter of this project, less critical of Poutine.

Armin Laschet is sometimes called “mini-Merkel” (Image: GETTY)

Vladimir Putin Armin Laschet

Armin Laschet is unlikely to take a tough stance with Vladimir Putin, Henkel said. (Image: GETTY)

“Merkel and Laschet criticize Russia only verbally for Putin’s aggressive policies.

“In fact, I can see one and only one advantage in the political program of the Greens: they are much tougher on Russia.”

Although Ms Merkel has carefully avoided naming her preferred successor, Mr Laschet, who was elected leader in January, narrowly beating Friedrich Merz, is sometimes nicknamed ‘Mini-Merkel’ for his closeness to her in terms of positions. policies.

His candidacy for the chancellery was confirmed this week after being supported by 77.5% of the CDU’s executive board members.

READ MORE: Merkel to blame for chaos in Germany, says Merz

Vladimir Poutine

Vladimir Putin, President of Russia (Image: GETTY)

This candidate may appeal to the media but will struggle to generate enthusiasm among German voters

Hans-Olaf Henkel’s verdict on CDU chief Armin Laschet

His rival Markus Söder, leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister of the CDU, won 22.5%, later claiming to have accepted the victory of Mr Laschet.

Mr Henkel said: “With Laschet, the CDU and now the CSU chose a candidate from the party establishment rather than one of the members, let alone the voters.

“This candidate may appeal to the media but will struggle to attract the enthusiasm of German voters.”

In words reminiscent of Mr Laschet’s characterization of ‘mini-Merkel’, Mr Henkel added: ‘This is a Merkel 2.

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Annalena baerbock

Annalena Baerbock is the Greens’ candidate for chancellor (Image: GETTY)

Friedrich merz

Friedrich Merz narrowly lost to Mr Laschet in January (Image: GETTY)

“With Laschet, the CDU / CSU will run a much higher risk of being replaced by a red / red / green coalition in September made up of Social Democrats, Communists and Greens.

“The latter would then provide a totally inexperienced woman, Mrs Baerbock, as chancellor.

“These three parties are arguing for more refugees, higher taxes, greater state intervention and the fight against climate change as a top priority without worrying too much about the competitiveness needs of businesses.

Mr Henkel said Tuesday’s survey by the Forsa Institute, which places the Greens at 28%, seven points ahead of the CDU / CSU with 21%, should serve as a warning to Mr Laschet.

Nord Stream 2

Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline will connect Russia to Germany (Image: GETTY)

He added: “The smartest thing for Laschet to do now would be to make Friedrich Merz, an enemy of Merkel, some kind of shadow candidate.

“Soeder’s fans, as well as many far-right AfD supporters, may remain loyal to the CDU or come back to it if Merz is given a key role in the election campaign and is promised an important post in a government. leader of Laschet. “

The German business community is favoring Ms Baerbock to succeed Merkel, an opinion poll released last week showed.

The Civey poll of 1,500 executives from WirtschaftsWoche magazine, conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday, showed 26.5% preferred Ms Baerbock, ahead of business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) Christian Lindner over 16.2%.

Hans-Olaf Henkel

Hans-Olaf Henkel is a former German MEP (Image: GETTY)

Armin Laschet was at 14.3 percent, with Olaf Scholz of the Social Democrat at 10.5 percent.

The remaining 32.5% were undecided.

Ms Baerbock, 40, a former trampoline champion and mother of two, pledged a ‘new start’ with a focus on investments in education, digital and green technologies.

Many conservatives are worried about their prospects without Merkel, which has led them to four straight federal election wins.


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