The fact that climate and environmental protection can only work internationally is her mantra. “The common thread running through my activities at the German Federal Environment Ministry is, on the one hand, international cooperation and, on the other, cross-cutting work on numerous BMU issues and with a large number of specialist colleagues,” says Eva Kracht, Head of the Sub-Department Europe at the BMU. The German EU Presidency 2020 was a challenge in this position, but coordination between Berlin, Brussels, and the European member states is also a central task now. How does one deal with this, in very practical terms?
“A key challenge – and I’m not giving away any secrets here – is always to develop a German position early on,” says Kracht. “In the German system, the ministries have a strong position. That has clear advantages: In the struggle for the federal government’s position, all aspects and arguments are considered, discussed, and weighed in detail.” But this becomes a problem when things move faster in Brussels than in Berlin and Bonn. Then one cannot optimally promote German concerns.
Green Deal in Berlin and Brussels
The BMU wants to do its utmost to help shape and support the Green Deal that the EU Commission has set itself. For this purpose, there is the Green Deal interface between Berlin and Brussels, in which Kracht plays an essential role. “Within the German government, we coordinate the German position on environmental dossiers and participate in giving instructions to other ministries. The Environment Unit at the Permanent Representation and the Deputy Permanent Representative are central points of contact for us, as negotiators and as providers of advice and information,” she explains.
In addition to institutional processes such as Council conclusions, meetings of the Permanent Representatives Committee, or the Environment Councils, informal contacts are of course also essential. “Some exchange formats take place regularly, for example, the meeting of the Directors General for Climate or Environment from the EU member states with the EU Commission or a new group on the Zero Pollution Action Plan.” Discussions with the Directorates-General for Environment and Climate and other institutions and actors in Brussels are also important.
The exchange with environmental associations is also important. Kracht: “German environmental associations are very interested in European environmental policy, since the majority of German environmental policy – around 80 percent, it is estimated – is shaped there.”
Kracht is a lawyer who completed her doctorate at the Institute for International Law at the University of Bonn on the scientific concretization of indeterminate legal concepts. Coming from the Rhineland, she joined the Federal Ministry for the Environment in 2003, where she initially started as a consultant for interdisciplinary environmental law. A short time later, she became a personal advisor to the then Environment Minister Jürgen Trittin (Greens) and then, from 2005 to Trittin’s successor Sigmar Gabriel (SPD), mainly responsible for international appointments.
This is one of the reasons why some people believe that Eva Kracht will be given even more tasks under a future traffic light coalition. Well-connected, technically experienced – and also equipped with the necessary political experience to bring together widely divergent positions. And at the same time practiced in getting along with characters who are considered more difficult. Constantin Eckner