Annalena Baerbock: Germany's Greens Are Grown Up — And Dangerous

The Green party is in a very strong position as the campaign begins to succeed Angela Merkel. Their environmental ideals mask an illiberal intolerance for their opponents.

Annalena Baerbock, the Greens' "confident, unflappable" candidate for chancellorship
Ulf Poschardt


BERLIN — The Greens are on a roll: In Annalena Baerbock they have nominated a strong candidate for the German chancellorship. Their campaign looks modern and sophisticated. But take a peek behind the scenes and you'll find intolerance and fantasies about the redistribution of wealth — and their political opponents now need to lay that bare.

The Greens have grown up. They've been trying for a while, but now they've finally done it. They announced their candidate this week for German chancellor in a calm, professional manner, and are presenting themselves as the more conservative option among the parties contesting the chancellorship.

In Baerbock, they have chosen a confident, unflappable candidate who will also appeal to the middle ground, to those who don't traditionally vote Green. Their campaign, which is swimming in money thanks to their recent results and sizeable donations, has hit the ground running. Its first stage was slick and professional, with both candidates looking picture-perfect thanks to Photoshopping and Instagram filters.

She has a conventional family life and yet she is Green through and through.

A former elite trampoline gymnast, Baerbock has two daughters and is married to a PR manager. She has a conventional family life and yet she is Green through and through.

Thanks to climate activists setting the agenda in street protests and editorials, she will also have to run a very green election campaign. Of course, her polished appearance and friendly, approachable manner will help make the Greens' anti-growth policies and their calls for redistribution of wealth and bans a little more palatable to the wider public.

The Greens have taken the Free Democratic Party's 2017 campaign and translated it into the realm of morality. It's a credit to the party's general secretary Michael Kellner and of course to the runner-up for the candidacy, Robert Habeck, who showed real strength of character and old-fashioned decency at the announcement on Monday.

Baerbock and Chancellor Merkel in 2018 — Photo: Kay Nietfeld/DPA/ZUMA Press

The other parties should take note. The Social Democratic Party has already sealed its fate, ensuring it will only play the role of junior partner in a possible coalition, and will not pose a real threat to the Greens' campaign. The Free Democratic Party is in a stronger position, while the Left Party only trusts its unimpeachable figurehead Sahra Wagenknecht. As for the union between the Christian Democrats and Christian Socialists, where sparks are still flying over whether to choose Armin Laschet or Markus Söder as their candidate, they already have the Greens in their sights.

The Greens' friendly face hides deep divisions that are tolerated and even encouraged. At the Berlin rent cap protests, Greens marched alongside people waving banners with hammers and sickles, violent protestors and members of anti-constitutional groups. Now more than ever, those who formerly identified as alternative are distancing themselves from the far left. They are waging culture wars with a vengeance, playing into the bias of the public-service media perfectly.

The Greens are the opposite of a liberal party.

The Greens are the opposite of a liberal party: they are a mouthpiece for people who take refuge in the civil service or publicly funded institutes designed to hold up their own lifestyle as an ideal for the rest of society. It's an intolerant, humorless scene, where morals are always more important than freedom or reason. Only supporters of the right-wing Alternative for Germany are more narrow-minded than Green voters: self-driven opportunists who strictly divide their world into good and evil.

The Greens' marketing is perfect, and their candidate for chancellor fits into it well. Their competitors must now find a way to unmask the party's attempt to play both sides — from Antifa to the Federation of German Industries — and all its contradictions.

Support Worldcrunch
We are grateful for reader support to continue our unique mission of delivering in English the best international journalism, regardless of language or geography. Click here to contribute whatever you can. Merci!

La Sagrada Familia Delayed Again — Blame COVID-19 This Time

Hopes were dashed by local officials to see the completion of the iconic Barcelona church in 2026, in time for the 100th anniversary of the death of its renowned architect Antoni Guadí.

Work on La Sagrada Familia has been delayed because of the pandemic

By most accounts, it's currently the longest-running construction project in the world. And now, the completion of work on the iconic Barcelona church La Sagrada Familia, which began all the way back in 1882, is going to take even longer.

Barcelona-based daily El Periodico daily reports that work on the church, which began as the vision of master architect Antoni Gaudí, was slated to be completed in 2026. But a press conference Tuesday, Sep. 21 confirmed that the deadline won't be met, in part because of delays related to COVID-19. Officials also provided new details about the impending completion of the Mare de Déu tower (tower of the Virgin).

El Periódico - 09/22/2021

El Periodico daily reports on the latest delay from what may be the longest-running construction project in the world.

One tower after the other… Slowly but surely, La Sagrada Familia has been growing bigger and higher before Barcelonians and visitors' eager eyes for nearly 140 years. However, all will have to be a bit more patient before they see the famous architectural project finally completed. During Tuesday's press conference, general director of the Construction Board of the Sagrada Familia, Xavier Martínez, and the architect director, Jordi Faulí, had some good and bad news to share.

As feared, La Sagrada Familia's completion date has been delayed. Because of the pandemic, the halt put on the works in early March when Spain went into a national lockdown. So the hopes are dashed of the 2026 inauguration in what would have been the 100th anniversary of Gaudi's death.

Although he excluded new predictions of completion until post-COVID normalcy is restored - no earlier than 2024 -, Martínez says: "Finishing in 2030, rather than being a realistic forecast, would be an illusion, starting the construction process will not be easy," reports La Vanguardia.

But what's a few more years when you already have waited 139, after all? However delayed, the construction will reach another milestone very soon with the completion of the Mare de Déu tower (tower of the Virgin), the first tower of the temple to be completed in 44 years and the second tallest spire of the complex. It will be crowned by a 12-pointed star which will be illuminated on December 8, Immaculate Conception Day.

Next would be the completion of the Evangelist Lucas tower and eventually, the tower of Jesus Christ, the most prominent of the Sagrada Familia, reaching 172.5 meters thanks to an illuminated 13.5 meters wide "great cross." It will be made of glass and porcelain stoneware to reflect daylight and will be illuminated at night and project rays of light.

La Sagrada Familia through the years

La Sagrada Familia, 1889 - wikipedia

Support Worldcrunch
We are grateful for reader support to continue our unique mission of delivering in English the best international journalism, regardless of language or geography. Click here to contribute whatever you can. Merci!