Katharina Dröge has taken a clear position on the investment agreement between the EU and China (CAI). The 36-year-old is the economic policy spokesperson for the Greens in the Bundestag. The German government does not coordinate sufficiently with its European partners when it comes to trade policy with China: “The agreement was once again an example of Germany going ahead, consulting with France and presenting the rest of Europe with a fait accompli.” In doing so the Chancellor was more concerned with concluding the agreement at the end of the Council Presidency than with the human rights situation in China. In her opinion, the EU should, in principle, ban the import of products resulting from forced labor. “The burden of proof would have to be reversed. Chinese companies would have to be transparent about how their products are made if they want to export to Germany or the EU,” says Dröge.
This very desire for fairer globalization was what brought the Westphalian-born politician into politics in the first place. Katharina Dröge has been a member of the Green Party since 2000. Prior to that, she founded a Green youth group in her home village. At the age of 16, Dröge already became the state chairwoman of the Green Youth in North Rhine-Westphalia, and since 2013 she has been a member of the Bundestag. “The topic of China has of course definitely increased in importance in the Bundestag in recent years,” says Dröge. Personally, she has not yet been to the People’s Republic, but due to her work in the Economic Committee, she knows how difficult communication with the Chinese leadership can be. “Especially when it comes to human rights, I have noticed how sharply the Chinese government can react,” says Katharina Dröge. However, this does not apply to all topics: “When it comes to climate protection, the Chinese are willing to negotiate and listen carefully to criticism.
According to Katharina Dröge, cooperation with Biden is welcome
The Greens would like to work more closely with US President Joe Biden, who is working to revive transatlantic relations that had been damaged under his predecessor. But that requires a united European Union. “But the fact that it cannot find a common voice when it comes to the issue of China is to some extent a homemade problem after all,” says Katharina Dröge. “The core of the problem lies in the consequences of the financial crisis in which Chancellor Merkel imposed her strict austerity policy on states like Italy and Greece.” When Chinese investors show up with the money now it’s hard for them to say no.
Some countries have thus become dependent on China to a certain extent, says Dröge. But at the national level, too, there is the problem that Germany does not manage to speak with one voice. This has recently become apparent in the expansion of the 5G network. “After all, China is showing that it is capable of playing more aggressively. In the past, the Chancellor has been too lenient. Here, a clear announcement could certainly ensure more respect on the other side.” David Renke