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The coal summit in the Chancellery: the federal government agrees to long-term aid to coal countries

Saxony-Anhalt's Prime Minister Haseloff sees opportunities for a compromise after the coal summit in the Chancellery. Finance Minister Scholz has long-term structural assistance for the affected regions in view.

Saxony-Anhalt's Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff sees opportunities for a compromise in the Kohlausstieg after a top-level discussion in the Chancellery. "I think that is possible," said the CDU politician after the meeting of prime ministers of the coal countries with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), several ministers and the head of the coal commission. This had presented the state of their activity and would finish the work on 25 January. "We all have an interest that there is a compromise, because that would contribute to the social pacification." Should that not be possible then, there will be another top meeting at the Chancellery at the end of January.

Haseloff said that Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) has promised long-term structural assistance for the lignite regions if the Commission sets appropriate guidelines. "That's clear, that's consensus."

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The Commission "Growth, Structural Change and Employment" with representatives from politics, business, trade unions and environmental organizations should submit a concept for the coal exit. It is about compliance with German climate protection goals on the one hand and new jobs and perspectives for those affected on the other. Tens of thousands of jobs are directly or indirectly connected with coal in Lusatia, in the central German district and in the Rheinische Revier. More than a third of the electricity in Germany continues to be provided by brown and hard coal fired power stations.

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Actually, the Commission wanted to submit its final report at the end of last year – but the date had to be postponed, now is due to the end of February, the final result. The prime ministers of the coal countries had criticized initial drafts of the panel as inadequate in terms of structural aid. They demanded significantly more money than the previously planned in the federal budget 1.5 billion euros by 2021. For Saxony and Brandenburg, the issue is also explosive, because in the autumn there, the state legislature to be re-elected.

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Brandenburg's Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD) told the German Press Agency after the four-hour meeting at the Chancellor's Office: "The Federal Government and the Länder agree that the necessary coal austerity, even for reasons of climate protection, will only work and will continue, even if the energy supply in the future continues to decline Germany as an industrialized country – and at prices that are also acceptable to citizens. "

At the same time, the coal regions need future-proofing with well-paid jobs, additional infrastructure with rail and road, science and culture, according to the SPD politician. Then Lusatia could become an EU model region for climate protection and sustainable economic growth.

Early shutdown of mileage would mean compensation payments

Haseloff emphasized that it was clear to all that it needed substantial resources for structural change in the coming decades. It is also about the energy transition as a whole. He also called for the protection of energy-intensive industries, which would be particularly affected by a price increase after the shutdown of the coal mine. The Commission also argued in its initial drafts that coal-fired power plants should be prematurely shut down in consensus with the operators – this would mean compensation payments.

In any case, a two-digit billions over the years is considered necessary to cushion the consequences of the phase-out. Experts believe that the Commission will set an end date for the last kilometer between 2035 and 2040.

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