Interview Merkel’s likely heir favors her centrist path. Armin Ratchet, a child of the Düsseldorf-West Germany Cold War, remembers America at the time. President Ronald Reagan came to Berlin in 1987 and stood on the wall separating the east and west, saying, “Take down this wall!”
“For many West Germans, it was an unrealistic utopia, but in the end, it was achieved,” said Raschette, who succeeded Angela Merkel and is aiming for prime minister in the September 26 presidential election.
The 60-year-old governor of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous country, is still grateful that Americans in his youth were reliable guarantors of peace and stability for the Soviet Union.
“They’ve always been there for us and they’ve secured the freedom of Berlin,” Laschet told The Associated Press this week from his office in western Düsseldorf. For Ratchet, close US ties are paramount as Merkel steps down after nearly 16 years of power. He hopes to advance progress on global challenges with the help of the new US leader, President Joe Biden.
Recent polls show that the union bloc holds a 7-10 percentage point lead over the environmentalist Greens, with Laschet leading the way in becoming a leader in Germany with the largest economy in Europe. The bloc consists of his Christian Democratic Union party and the only Christian Social Union party in Bavaria.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Ratchet expressed relief at Biden’s return to America as a leader in global challenges such as global warming since the administration of Donald Trump.
“It’s good that the new US administration has returned to a multilateral agreement and rejoined the Paris climate agreement,” Laschet said. “I hope that under the leadership of the United States, which has been committed to this goal politically, economically, and financially, we can make great strides.”
He’s a bit more reserved for Biden’s assertive stance on China and favors Merkel’s company, but not a very confrontational approach. “China is a partner, but a systematic competitor. In other words, we must uphold our principles and continue to remind ourselves of China, but at the same time promote economic relations with China,” he added. of a country other than a close Western ally.
“If there are countries with different social models than ours, we need to bring them in to join us – Russia, China, the Arab world.” Like Merkel, Laschet is known as a centrist who favors integration over polarization. So far, he has kept her off track of her successful middle path to domestic affairs.
“Right now, Laschet looks like a Merkel 2.0 illuminated version to all of us,” said Wolfgang Merkel, a political analyst at the Berlin Center for Social Sciences, having nothing to do with the prime minister. “He didn’t distinguish himself as a person who would go into politics, unlike Merkel. In many ways, he is so similar to her that he cannot distinguish himself from her.”
He added that Ratchet was “a person who can bridge as a political leader, a person who can mediate, a person who can compromise.” “He’s not a macho politician.” So far, Laschet has not taken a markedly different stand from the outgoing prime minister. “I don’t think he will do that until the election,” the analyst said. “He is very careful. Now the slogan is: Make no mistake now at the last minute of the campaign.”
Laschet is the son of a miner in Aachen, a university town on Germany’s western border with Belgium and the Netherlands. A slender man with shocking dark hair and a mischievous smile, he still speaks in the local dialect. He is married to his childhood sweetheart Susanne, devout Catholics have three adult children and still lives in Aachen’s Burtscheid district.
Growing up in the heart of the continent made him a true European.
“Many people live in one country and work in another because shopping one crosses borders … and knowing that many problems can only be solved transnationally, the classic concept of nation-state has long been It has been overcome,” said Laschet. He earned a law degree and worked as a journalist before joining the Reichstag in 1994 as a member of the CDU.
From 1999 to 2005 Laschet was a member of the European Parliament. He became governor of the central left stronghold of North Rhine-Westphalia in 2017. Ratchet led his state in coalition with pro-business Liberal Democrats, a traditional CDU alliance, but is considered capable of working with the more left-leaning Greens.
In the late 2000s, Laschet was his chief minister for immigrant integration. Far ahead of other German countries, he brought language fluency, strengthening women’s rights in immigrant communities, an easier path to citizenship, and bringing the Islamic religious education to shop-front mosques and classrooms with teachers who raised and educated teachers in Germany. It emphasized the need to bring.
It is also close to his heart to fight the growing anti-Semitism in Germany. He has strengthened high school exchanges between Germans and Israelis and, like Merkel, is a strong supporter of Israel. “I think every young person should have visited Auschwitz once to get a sense of the place of horror that took place there and to understand what the Holocaust meant as a crime against humanity,” he said.
Laschet is concerned about recent populist and autocratic trends in Central and Eastern Europe but is very clear about his vision for the European Union. “To develop Europe further, we need all 27 member states, Hungary and Poland. At the same time, you must insist on the rule of law. Everyone who joins the EU must accept the position of the European Court of Justice, if anyone violates European law with sanctions and consequences, for example about the allocation of funds”.
The new prime minister must “strengthen dialogue with the democracies of Central and Eastern Europe”. Sitting on a white sofa in an office overlooking the Rhine, Ratchet remembered how former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl started another major conversation early in his career.
Cole organized a meeting with young lawmakers in 1997 with President Bill Clinton to “talk him for 45 minutes about world politics.” He jumped off the couch and snapped a yellow photo in his framed handshake with Clinton in the oval office.