AICGS Profiles: Dr. Anna Lührmann

Hari Choudhari

Hari Krishan Choudhari is a research intern at AICGS for the fall of 2022. He supports resident fellows with their research projects, manages databases, and helps organize and document AICGS events. Mr. Choudhari is currently pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in International Politics at Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service, concentrating in Foreign Policy and Policy Processes and minoring in History and German. In his program, he concentrates on transatlantic security and U.S. foreign policy, and his interests include diplomacy, militarism, strategic culture, and South Asia studies.

Mr. Choudhari works concurrently as a Program Assistant and Undergraduate Scholar at the BMW Center for German and European Studies at Georgetown University. Additionally, he has conducted independent research on the Zeitenwende and Germany's changing strategic culture as part of the Laidlaw Scholars Program, which he hopes to continue.

Minister of State for Europe and Climate

Background

Dr. Anna Lührmann (Bündnis 90/The Greens) is a member of the Bundestag and serves as Minister of State for Europe and Climate in the German Foreign Office. She serves concurrently as Commissioner for Franco-German Cooperation and is the German representative in the General Affairs Council of the European Council.

Born in Lich, Hessen on June 14, 1983, Dr. Lührmann was heavily involved with the Greens from a young age. She served as spokesperson for the Green Youth of Kassel from 1996-1998, as well as on the State Board of the Green Youth of Hessen from 1998-2002 (interrupted by a study abroad year in Syracuse, New York). She officially joined Bündnis 90/The Greens in 1998.

Politics and Academic Career

Dr. Lührmann was elected to the Bundestag in 2002 at the age of 19, becoming its youngest-ever member as well as the youngest member of parliament in the world. She held positions on the European Affairs (2002-2004) and Budget (2004-2009) Committees before choosing not to seek re-election in 2009. During this time, she proposed the Climate Protection Budget (Klimaschutzhaushalt) in 2007, seeking to “replace environmentally-harmful subsidies with investments in climate protection.” She also simultaneously pursued a bachelor’s degree in Politics and Organization at the Fern Universität in Hagen from 2003-2008.

After leaving the Bundestag, Dr. Lührmann received a master’s degree in Gender and Peace Studies from the Ahfad University for Women in Sudan while providing consultation for the UNDP and the Bundestag on Sudanese affairs and youth participation. Returning to Germany in 2011, she then pursued both a master’s degree and doctorate in Political Science and the Promotion of Democracy at the Humboldt Universität in Berlin, following which she held the position of Deputy Director and Junior Professor at the University of Gothenburg’s Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Institute until 2021. She decided to re-enter politics in the wake of the “Fridays for Future” school strikes and was elected through the Green party list to represent the Rheingau-Taunus — Limburg constituency in the state of Hessen. Dr. Lührmann was appointed Minister of State for Europe and Climate by Foreign Minister Baerbock in 2021.

Positions

Climate and renewable energy play a key role in Dr. Lührmann’s agenda, perhaps not surprising given her long history of engagement with the Greens and climate issues. In an interview with Frankfurter Rundschau in August 2022, she stated, “In all international diplomatic talks that I hold as Minister of State for Europe, I bring up topics such as our foreign climate policy, energy efficiency, and renewable energies.” She has made a point to meet with climate ministers of European nations during her official visits, and she supports domestic policies such as the 9 euro train tickets scheme and the expansion of wind energy. Dr. Lührmann is opposed to nuclear energy as a component of Germany’s energy mix, a staple of Green party policy since the 1970s but an increasingly tenuous position in the context of the contemporary energy crisis. She justified this opposition by citing France’s increasing purchases of energy from Germany due to the inoperability of nuclear plants during the European heat wave and stated that Germany and France “agree to disagree” on nuclear power.

Dr. Lührmann has pushed for reforming the European Union and reconceptualizing its roles and responsibilities. In an interview with EURACTIV in May 2022, she stressed the importance of the Conference on the Future of Europe as a starting point for both short-term and long-term changes to EU policy. While some of these may be achievable without major treaty change —such as the strengthening of European defense capabilities and renewable energy policy — she also supports abolishing unanimity voting on the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) in order to enable quick, decisive action in response to future crises or acts of aggression. Dr. Lührmann also played a part in the organization of the Foreign Office’s National Citizens Panel on the Future of Europe in January 2022.

Perhaps the most active sphere of Dr. Lührmann’s activities regards EU expansion and solidarity in the Balkans. Akin to her predecessor, the SPD’s Michael Roth, she has been a strong advocate for beginning the EU-accession process for Albania and North Macedonia, especially given that the recent thaw in Bulgarian-North Macedonian relations has removed the Bulgarian veto on North Macedonian membership. Her first official visits abroad (excluding France) were to Albania and North Macedonia, and she represented Germany at the official beginning of accession negotiations in July 2022. In addition to Albania and North Macedonia, Dr. Lührmann remains heavily involved in the Balkans at large, with official visits to Bulgaria, Montenegro, Romania, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Greece within just the first few months of 2022.

Dr. Anna Lührmann promises to be a force within the Foreign Office for furthering EU solidarity through a climate-centric lens, potentially playing a key role in achieving the Greens’ foreign policy agenda in the governing coalition.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies.