Vizing the summits is second nature to Annalena Baerbock, former trampoline champion. This determined ecologist is now taking up her most daring challenge by carrying the hopes of the Greens to access the chancellery. At only 40 years old, it is she and not Robert Habeck, her charismatic partner at the head of the party, long favorite, who will be the leader of the Grünen for the legislative elections of September 26.
So decided Monday the executive committee of the environmental party, acclaimed in the polls to the point of following the conservatives undermined by their divisions and the upcoming departure of Angela Merkel. Annalena Baerbock will be the youngest of the candidates for the chancellery and the only woman among the three main formations, alongside the contenders of the right and the Social Democrats. Just before Christmas, the forty-something had almost aroused the surprise by displaying her ambitions. “I trust Robert (Habeck) to be chancellor. But I also trust myself for the chancellery, ”warned this energetic brunette.
“Annalena, these are the roots of our tree”
Since their team took the reins of the Greens in January 2018, he is the one who charms and shines when this lawyer specializing in international law fills out her arguments, polishes her files, whether on the exit of coal in the Brandenburg region. where she is elected or on NATO funding. The former Minister of Foreign Affairs (1998-2005), Joschka Fischer, tutelary figure of the German Greens, concedes: “for me, it almost came out of nowhere”.
However, during the re-election of the duo at the head of the party in 2019, she obtained a better score than Robert Habeck (97.1% against 90.4%) and even the best result ever recorded by a Green leader. “Annalena, these are the roots of our tree. Some of Robert’s flowers would fade quickly without her, ”says Claudia Roth, vice-president of the Bundestag, a great figure in this long-turbulent formation and now largely in the ranks.
A former top athlete
To try to identify Annalena Baerbock, you have to go… on a trampoline. The young woman with dark brown hair and an athletic body performs very impressive somersaults after a few candles. This former top athlete was triple bronze medalist at the German championships in the discipline. Also a footballer, the ecologist who campaigns for “climate-friendly prosperity” sees similarities with politics. In these two areas, “you have to be really courageous,” she said in a documentary on the public channel NDR. “With each new trick that we learn, we don’t know if we are going to land on the head or the feet. ”
After having deserted the gymnasiums due to chronic injuries, the young woman who grew up on a farm in Lower Saxony (North-West) initially envisaged a career in journalism. But his trajectory bifurcates after an internship with a Green MEP. She took her party card in 2005, the year when environmentalists, minority government partners of the Social Democrats, left power. It is also the year that Angela Merkel enters the chancellery, the first woman in German history. Sixteen years later, the member, who offers a range of leather jackets in different colors, has been a member of the Bundestag for almost eight years, elected in a constituency of Brandenburg. Before that, she headed from 2009 to 2013 the section of this regional state that surrounds Berlin.
Lack of experience ?
But her CV does not mention any ministerial experience, even at the regional level, making caustic voices say that she is not familiar with the intricacies of negotiation, essential in a government coalition. Mother of two little girls, she lives in Potsdam, on the outskirts of Berlin and financially sponsored a Syrian refugee who was able to obtain a visa for Germany.
As the coronavirus afflicts the planet and forces schools to close in Germany, she scratches government decisions and insists on the difficulty of reconciling telework and home education as a young mother. Several newspapers, including the Southgerman newspaper, spoke out in favor of his candidacy. For the Spiegel, she embodies “a woman (…) who wants and can do a lot, but who should relax a bit”.