Terry Reintke © Cornelis Gollhardt

Interview with Terry Reintke

Terry Reintke is co-chair of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament and currently the Spitzenkandidat of the German and European Greens for the European election campaign. In an interview with the BDI, she explains her motivation for competing as a Spitzenkandidat in the European elections, names the biggest challenges for European companies in the upcoming years and outlines her priorities for making Europe an attractive place to invest and do business again.

What motivates you personally to compete as a Spitzenkandidat in the European elections?

I want to shape Europe. The European Union is the political framework that provides us in Germany with long-term prosperity and security in these challenging times. Europe's diverse and innovative economy is globally competitive, and by strengthening Europe, we strengthen our prosperity. We have already achieved much, especially with the Green Deal. We should continue on this path, with a democratic majority of the center in the European Parliament. I want to be at the forefront: It's about the transformation to a climate-neutral economy and about keeping and expanding the jobs, production, and prosperity of the future here. It is also about deepening the common European defense and security policy, embedded in NATO, in response to the Russian threat and the war of aggression against Ukraine. Europe is a vibrant and diverse continent; I advocate for a social European Union that is firmly based on the rule of law and democracy. For a EU where xenophobia and violence against women and minorities have no place. This requires a large, powerful Green group in the European Parliament. I am grateful to my party in Germany and the European Greens for placing their trust in me as their lead candidate for the European elections in 2024.

What are according to you the biggest challenges that European businesses will be facing in the upcoming years?

We are in the midst of the climate-neutral modernization of our economy. The Green Deal is pointing the way ahead for the European economy and the question of whether we continue to lead or whether we live in a Europe that lags behind in climate-neutral practices. Without a doubt, this transformation poses enormous challenges for European businesses, such as decarbonization combined with rising fossil energy prices or global competition with companies from China and the USA, which benefit from massive  investments in future technologies there. Therefore, we need a strategic industrial and investment policy in the EU to win the race to become the world's first climate-neutral economic hub. In addition, we need a common approach to solve the shortage of skilled workers, strengthen our supply chains, and develop the use of AI in line with our shared values. Only with clear and reliable rules can we create the necessary investment security for European businesses. In times of crises and great challenges, the importance of a common European approach becomes apparent. The European Union preserves our peace and enhances our prosperity; it protects our security, and therefore, it is all the more important for us Greens to maintain and renew it.

How to #PowerUpEurope: How do you plan to make Europe an attractive place to invest and do business again?

The European Union provides us with security in an uncertain world. The goal and mission of our industrial policy are to strengthen and renew the European economic powerhouse in a climate-neutral way: With the Green Deal, we secure investments in good jobs and fair wages, clean infrastructure, and the competitiveness of our companies in the markets of the future. We rely on our own active economic and industrial policy, which, building on Europe's strengths, retrieves, develops, and scales key and future industries. This means strategic investments in the location advantages of tomorrow – renewable energies and rapid digitalization, state-of-the-art battery technology, and green steel, or the education of future generations. Therefore, from 2028 onwards, we want to create a large investment program for innovation, sovereignty, and resilience with three clear goals. Firstly, I will strongly advocate for a real infrastructure union that literally connects Europe: with hydrogen networks and fiber optic lines, with power lines, and railways. Secondly, I advocate everywhere in Europe for the promotion of the climate-neutral transformation of industry, as well as for the development of the industries of tomorrow. And thirdly, we Europeans must make our economies and societies more resilient to and independent from autocracies.