Good luck token

The German media is vigorously discussing the news of the day – the victory of the Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia Armin Laschet in the election of the head of the CDU. If the Christian Democratic Union successfully competes in parliamentary elections this fall and leads negotiations on a future coalition, then 59-year-old Laschet has a real chance to become Angela Merkel’s successor as federal chancellor. So, what is known about the politician who has won the reputation of the “people’s prime minister” in his region, which he has been successfully running since 2017?

Born in the suburb of Aachen, he grew up in a family “of the people”. His father worked in a coal mine for many years. With his father’s miner badge number 813, which Laschet Sr. gave to his son as a talisman for good luck, Armin came from Aachen to Berlin for the congress. “Every day my father went down a thousand meters underground. Stuffiness, darkness, hard work. He always told me: it doesn’t matter where your comrades come from, what their origin, what religion or appearance is. It is only important that you can to rely on them … Father, who later left the mine and became a teacher, still keeps this token on his bunch of keys. He gave it to me on the road with the words: “Tell people that they can rely on you” … Let , I’m not perfect. I am me, Armin Laschet. You can count on that. ”Thus, demonstrating a gilded medallion with a hole, the politician concluded his unassuming but effective speech at the congress, which ultimately convinced the delegates.

Actually, the image of a smiling “people’s prime minister” who can easily pass a glass of beer with voters and patiently listen to their aspirations, even if it is not planned by the protocol, has firmly entrenched in Lashet. Although it is far from so simple. Having received law degrees from the universities of Munich and Bonn, he managed to try his hand at journalism, and very successfully: in the late eighties he worked as a correspondent in Bonn for Bavarian Radio, then became editor-in-chief of the Catholic newspaper KirchenZeitung Aachen and headed the publishing house of spiritual literature, which passed to him from father-in-law, influential businessman. By the way, the Germans find the love story of Armin Lashet very touching and romantic. He met his future wife Suzanne in the children’s church choir and fell in love with her at first sight. The couple raised three children. By the way, their son Johannes, a popular fashion blogger, now advises his father on style issues.

Armin Laschet, who joined the Conservative Party at the age of 18, methodically built his political career – first in the council of his hometown, then – being elected to the Bundestag from the district of Aachen. He also spent five years in the state government as Minister of Generations, Family, Women and Integration, as well as in the Landtag and in the European Parliament. In 2012, Armin Laschet headed the CDU branch in his region – the largest in the country, and in 2017 defeated the Social Democrats in North Rhine-Westphalia, which was previously considered their fiefdom, and headed its government.

In the ranks of the CDU, Armin Lashet is considered a loyal ally of Angela Merkel and a continuation of her course – not too conservative, rather flexible and ready for different alliances. It is important that in the federal government he is supported by Minister of Health Jens Spahn, who has significantly scored political points thanks to the government’s decisive actions in the fight against the pandemic. Laschet himself was sometimes criticized for being too “soft” – in this sense he is inferior to his Bavarian colleague, the head of the CSU, Markus Zeder, who is considered a champion of the “tough hand” (by the way, Seder is also suspected of ambitions to take the federal chancellor’s chair). But in comparison with the same Zeder, Armin Lashet is considered more “human”. So, even last spring, he unexpectedly showed solidarity with the demonstrators protesting against the restrictions of the “crown”. “The rallies are absolutely legitimate,” he said then in an interview with the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung. “It’s not surprising that people go out toMonstrations when they are faced with the most significant restrictions on their rights during the entire existence of the Federal Republic. ”Laschet has repeatedly said that politicians should explain to citizens the meaning of all restrictions as clearly as possible, but at the same time stop the antics of extremists.

Laschet also has experience in international affairs. In the early 2000s, the politician was a member of the foreign policy committee of the European Parliament. By the way, then he actively advocated the development of a dialogue with Moscow. It is Armin Lashet who is considered one of the architects of the idea of ​​building a single space “from Lisbon to Vladivostok”. Unlike the losing “Atlanticist” candidates Merz and Rettgen, who in recent years have actively called for the preservation and strengthening of sanctions against the Russian Federation and questioned the advisability of completing Nord Stream 2, Laschet spoke openly in March 2019 at defense of the gas pipeline project at the annual meeting of the German-Russian Forum. And in July of the same year, at the Petersburg Dialogue forum, he met separately with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who flew to Bonn, and also gave an exclusive comment to Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

“It is very important to continue the dialogue, especially in these times, when differences in views are so clearly manifested. The foreign ministers of the two countries took part in the forum, this is the first time in several years, and this is a good signal. I met with Sergey Lavrov, we discussed the development of relations.It is necessary to take the next step, to reach the next level, having achieved the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.We are located in North Rhine-Westphalia, it is the 18th most developed economic region in the world, the most industrialized region of Germany, the heart of Europe And 40 percent of the gas and oil consumed here we get from Russia. If we are going to move away from the use of coal, then we need more gas. Cooperation with the Russian Federation is also necessary to resolve global problems, such as the conflict in Syria, the fight against climate change within the framework of Paris Agreement “, – Laschet said then to” RG “.

Rahr: We can expect pragmatism from Laschet in relations with Russia

Text: Ekaterina Zabrodina What is he like, the prime minister of North Rhine-Westphalia and the new head of the Christian Democratic Union, Armin Lashet? What is behind the smile and outward simplicity of the 59-year-old politician? Is he exactly going to be nominated for chancellor? What does his election mean for Germany itself and for relations between Berlin and Moscow? German political scientist Alexander Rahr told RG about this.% 3C27% 3E – +% D0% 95% D1% 81% D0% BB% D0% B8 +% D0% B1% D1% 8B +% D0% BD% D0% B5 +% D0% BF% D0% B0% D0% BD % D0% B4% D0% B5% D0% BC% D0% B8% D1% 8F% 2C +% D1% 82% D0% BE% 2C +% D1% 8F +% D0% B4% D1% 83% D0% BC% D0 % B0% D1% 8E% 2C +% D0% BD% D0% B0 +% D0% B2% D1% 8B% D0% B1% D0% BE% D1% 80% D0% B0% D1% 85 +% D0% BD% D0% BE% D0% B2% D0% BE% D0% B3% D0% BE +% D0% B3% D0% BB% D0% B0% D0% B2% D1% 8B +% D0% A5% D0% 94% D0% A1 +% D0% BF% D0% BE% D0% B1% D0% B5% D0% B4% D0% B8% D0% BB +% D0% B1% D1% 8B +% D0% A4% D1% 80% D0% B8% D0% B4% D1% 80% D0% B8% D1% 85 +% D0% 9C% D0% B5% D1% 80% D1% 86 +% 2865-% D0% BB% D0% B5% D1% 82% D0 % BD% D0% B8% D0% B9 +% D0% B1% D0% B8% D0% B7% D0% BD% D0% B5% D1% 81% D0% BC% D0% B5% D0% BD +% D0% B8 + % D1% 8E% D1% 80% D0% B8% D1% 81% D1% 82% 29% 2C +% D0% BE% D0% B1% D0% B5% D1% 89% D0% B0% D0% B2% D1 % 88% D0% B8% D0% B9 +% D0% B2% D0% B5% D1% 80% D0% BD% D1% 83% D1% 82% D1% 8C +% D0% BF% D0% B0% 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But I’m sure he won’t. Laschet won a good victory and firmly sat in the chair of the chairman of the largest popular party in Europe. Now he has every opportunity to strengthen his authority.

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D0% BA% D0% BE% D0% B2% D0% B5% D1% 81% D0% BD% D1% 8B % D0% B9% 2C +% D1% 87% D0% B0% D1% 81% D1% 82% D0% BE +% D0% B3% D1% 80% D0% BE% D0% BC% D0% BA% D0% BE + % D1% 81% D0% BC% D0% B5% D0% B5% D1% 82% D1% 81% D1% 8F. +% D0% 9D% D0% BE +% D0% B5% D1% 81% D0% BB % D0% B8 +% D0% BF% D1% 80% D0% B8% D1% 81% D0% BC% D0% BE% D1% 82% D1% 80% D0% B5% D1% 82% D1% 8C% D1 % 81% D1% 8F +% D0% BA +% D0% BD% D0% B5% D0% BC% D1% 83% 2C +% D1% 82% D0% BE +% D0% BF% D0% BE% D0% BD% D0 % B8% D0% BC% D0% B0% D0% B5% D1% 88% D1% 8C% 2C +% D1% 87% D1% 82% D0% BE +% D0% BD% D0% B0 +% D1% 81% D0 % B0% D0% BC% D0% BE% D0% BC +% D0% B4% D0% B5% D0% BB% D0% B5 +% D0% BE% D0% BD +% D0% BE% D1% 87% D0% B5 % D0% BD% D1% 8C +% D1% 81% D0% B5% D1% 80% D1% 8C% D0% B5% D0% B7% D0% B5% D0% BD% 2C +% D1% 85% D0% BE %D1� is able and able to listen to others and gain people’s trust. He does not have the narrow-mindedness that is characteristic of many politicians.

We are familiar with Lashet. When he headed the Ministry of Integration in North Westphalia, I worked in the German Council for Foreign Policy and helped him in matters related to the prospect of adaptation of Russian-speaking Germans. Then it seemed to me that this person is very erudite in foreign policy, sincerely interested in foreign cultures. He wanted a dialogue with Islam, he really wanted to have a dialogue with Russia. Before that Laschet was a member of the foreign policy committee in the European Parliament and promoted the idea of ​​a single space from Lisbon to Vladivostok. Several times he said in public that Germany needed Nord Stream 2. The country cannot simultaneously withdraw from the oil business, nuclear energy and coal, and at the same time refuse Russian gas. In particular, he voiced this idea in the spring of 2019 at the annual meeting of the German-Russian Forum. In contrast to the fully ideologized Röttgen (head of the foreign policy committee of the bun�Stag who lost the fight for the post of head of the CDU – approx. “RG”), who prioritizes human rights and liberal values, Laschet is a pragmatist. He understands very well that there are many of his potential voters in Germany who do not want to quarrel with Russia.

Russia is used to looking only at Merkel and saying that in Germany everything is decided by Merkel. But now Russia has time to seriously look at the new candidate. In my opinion, he is a rather flexible politician, with whom Moscow and Berlin open up a field for new pragmatic interaction.

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