Christian Meyer, Lower Saxony's Environment Minister, didn't know what to do with his luck. So cell phone out and Twitter March. Again and again, the busy Greens politician spread his reading of the "modernization package for climate protection and planning acceleration" decided by the traffic light coalition. Climate protection, nature conservation, traffic - for Meyer, it was not the SPD and FDP that prevailed in the Berlin government struggle, but above all his own party, the Greens.
Meyer was particularly impressed by the decision of the traffic light parties to accelerate various traffic projects and the associated non-acceleration of the new motorway construction in the north of the republic. "Result of the coalition committee," the minister rejoiced, "climate-damaging motorways such as the A20, A33 and A39 will NOT be accelerated, but 144 bottlenecks without new buildings."
And: "Fact: If I prioritize bottlenecks, don't increase the staff and funds for a terrifically underfunded federal transport route plan, but instead have massive cost increases for construction and land purchase and keep the debt brake, the A20, A39, etc. will be very unreal!"
In other words: The construction of the A20 autobahn, including the Elbe crossing near Glückstadt, and the A39 from Lüneburg to Wolfsburg, which has been planned for decades and has always been opposed by the Greens, but just as long-awaited by the north German economy, is in Meyer’s view with the Berlin resolutions of Tuesday evening furthest away. And he's probably not wrong about that.
In any case, in Schleswig-Holstein Prime Minister Daniel Günther (CDU) rated the fact that the A20 was not included on the list of road construction projects to be implemented with top priority as an “absolute setback” and “catastrophic report” for his state. In its deliberations on road expansion, the traffic light coalition apparently only had the well-developed but ailing road network in the south and west of the Federal Republic in mind.
The north, on the other hand, in which it will be a question of accompanying future economic development with a corresponding expansion of the infrastructure in the coming years, is falling completely behind, contrary to previous promises by the Federal Minister of Transport. "We can't put up with that," Günther rants and announces that he wants to take action against the traffic light decision together with the other northern German states.
The concern of the head of government in Kiel is not unfounded. Companies such as the battery group Northvolt, which wants to build a factory on the energy-rich west coast of Schleswig-Holstein, make their location decision largely dependent on the expansion of the infrastructure on the coasts of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein, which has been rather rudimentary up to now.
At least in Stephan Weil (SPD), Daniel Günther could find an ally, albeit a secret one for the time being. However, as a member of the Chancellor's Party, Weil has to be much more careful about his wording than his colleague in Kiel. On Wednesday he therefore prefers to praise in detail the traffic light resolutions to accelerate the energy transition, which are important and "wind on our windmills". His state government, adds the Social Democrat with a certain sarcasm, is now happy "about any progress that helps us to become faster".
The traffic light coalition wants to give up the previously strict emission requirements for individual economic sectors in the climate protection law. This was announced by FDP leader Christian Lindner after the end of the deliberations in the coalition committee. Watch the full results press conference here.
Basically, that means that the people of Lower Saxony are happy that the traffic light coalition finally got a mutually agreed decision after their marathon. In the meantime, there had already been fears in Hanover that the traffic lights would finally be broken down into their individual parts due to climate protection and acceleration programs.
The autobahns, Weil then adds rather tight-lipped, are at least “not off the table”. Basically, however, it is true in his federal state that the co-governing Greens, that Minister of the Environment Meyer, has initially prevailed against his own Prime Minister in transport policy with the help of the traffic light decisions.
Like Weil, his party colleague and Bremen Mayor Andreas Bovenschulte also tried to emphasize what he saw as positive aspects of the Berlin compromise. It is right, Bovenschulte told WELT, "that we are looking to renew the heating systems in our buildings and are increasingly relying on climate-friendly heating systems without overtaxing people - neither homeowners nor tenants". He now expects “that the coalition will quickly bring the necessary regulations in place so that people on a tight budget are given unbureaucratic support in converting their heating systems”.
The CDU heads of government from Saxony and Hesse, on the other hand, were much more critical of the traffic light compromise. Wiesbaden Prime Minister Boris Rhein complained that the traffic lights could not agree on the 2024 budget, defense spending or the national security strategy. "And in the dispute over gas and oil heating, the citizens still don't know what they can plan or have to expect."
Saxony's Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer, like Günther, complains that the traffic light "does not accelerate a single transport project in an East German state". "Likewise no transport project in the regions affected by the structural change caused by the phase-out of lignite-fired power generation, and also nothing at all that would benefit the networking with the Eastern European countries".
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