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Issue #129

Issue #129

Guten Morgen! 

It’s been a supercrazy week over here (@Erste Lesung, not necessarily in Germany). But we didn’t want to leave you completely empty-handed, so please enjoy this week’s kind of ragtag version. And a graphic. And a giphy. Here you go:

On the bright side, this leaves you more time to enjoy the weekend. And to look forward to next week’s full edition of the latest intel from Germany and the EU!


Anna                                                     Szilvia


Energy Transition: It’s a Family Affair

Well, ladies and gentlemen, you heard it last week when Anna raged about it in her WOOM, the Green party’s Climate & Economics Minister Robert Habeck has unwillingly gotten himself in a bit of a pickle. Around two weeks ago, it was revealed there may be some cronyism afoot in Habeck’s Ministry, the BMWK. To briefly summarize: Habeck’s State Secretary Patrick Graichen was on a committee to select the next head of the German Energy Agency (dena) – where the best man at his wedding was one of the candidates. He failed to disclose the two knew each other and his best man got the job.

Last week, Habeck defended Graichen. Wednesday, Graichen stepped down. So, what changed? And why does it matter? Well, through the controversy, the public became aware of the fact that the Graichen family-green transition intertwinement resembled something like the Game of Thrones family trees. Specifically: Habeck’s other State Secretary Michael Kellner is married to Graichen’s sister, Verena, who was on the executive board of BUND, an influential pro-environmental association. Verena also works at the Öko-Institute, an independent research- and consulting institute that also receives mandates from the Federal Government as a Senior Researcher, as does her other brother, Jakob. Questionable? Sure. Illegal? Not yet.

What changed from last week: an internal investigation revealed Graichen signed off on a 600,000€ grant for BUND, which his sister sat on the executive board of. The unfortunate part of all this is that Graichen was actually damn good at his job. He was the driving force behind speeding up Germany’s rollout of renewables, and an instrumental part of the team that helped avoid an energy crisis after Germany cut off the Russian gas supply. Obviously, the opposition CDU/CSU had a field day with this news, even using the occasion to call on the Greens to halt their project to disallow the new construction of gas- and oil heaters.


Source: Eurostat