Once again, a German minister is planning to revolutionize his country’s economy in the face of crisis. 

In the post-war era, with the country’s economy in tatters, Ludwig Erhard, the legendary economy minister of West Germany, helped ignite the “economic miracle,” or Wirtschaftswunder. Now, the climate crisis has put Greens co-leader Robert Habeck into the same ministry as Erhard — combined with the climate portfolio. 

The plan is once again to turn calamity into prosperity. 

Bringing climate and economy into the same ministry — as has been done in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands — is an attempt to redefine the terms of the German system, said Sven Giegold, a Greens member of the European Parliament who will become one of Habeck’s deputies. Instead of an afterthought, cutting emissions will become the organizing principle that drives economic competitiveness.

After the Greens backed a coalition deal with the Social Democrats (SPD) and Free Democrats (FDP) on Monday, Habeck will step into a ministry with “a great tradition,” Giegold said. “This is the idea … in the house which has set the order for the market after the Second World War. Now in a new time, it will set the order for the market in a period of a climate crisis.”

The Greens view this as their moment to seize history and see Habeck, who also holds the title of vice chancellor, as the minister to deliver it.

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