Mining union calls for Energiewende ministry
Germany’s largest mining trade union has called on the next federal government to assign the tasks related to energy, transport, and housing policies to a ‘ministry of energy transition’. This would help the country avoid the current “uncoordinated patchwork” in its energy transformation-related policies, said IG BCE head Michael Vassiliadis at a union conference in Hanover. The union head also called on the next government to give coal mining regions undergoing structural change a “sufficiently financed reliable prospect” for the future. Germany aims to make its energy supply largely CO₂-neutral by 2050, and the country’s lignite mines would be "largely out of use" by then. Yet, NGOs and certain political camps are conducting “hysterical campaigns” against coal, he said. Addressing the possible alliance of Merkel’s conservatives (CDU/CSU) with the Free Democrats (FDP) and the Green Party – a so-called ‘Jamaica coalition’ – and a potential coal exit agreement, Vassiliadis said: “There actually are fears that our people in the mining areas will have to foot the bill for the ‘Jamaica’ wedding party”. The IG BCE stands by the climate targets agreed in Paris. “No ifs and buts. And Paris is not the problem”, he said. Instead, it is the German policy that does not live up to the climate agreement. While the Energiewende is expensive and costs jobs, its targets are not reached, said Vassiliadis.