24 Jun 2022, 13:19
Kerstine Appunn

Conservative-Green coalition agreed in Germany's industry heartland state, eyes 2030 coal exit


Germany’s most populous state will be governed by a coalition of the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Green Party for the next five years, the leading politicians in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) announced on Thursday. State premier Hendrik Wüst from the CDU, who will continue in this role, said that both parties had a “joint compass” and would focus on more climate action, a sustainable economy, a future-proof infrastructure, and investment in education and solid finances. The conservative-green coalition wants to stick by an ambitious exit plan for coal power despite the energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine and phase out coal power by 2030. The parties said that all five villages of the third resettlement section of the Garzweiler opencast lignite mine are to be preserved. The new coalition partners also agreed to build at least 1,000 additional wind turbines in NRW over the next five years. To achieve this, planning and approval procedures are to be simplified and digitalised. The controversial distance rules, which state there must be a 1,000-metre distance between a wind turbine and the next residential building, will be gradually abolished. With a "Citizens' Energy Act", residents and municipalities are to benefit financially from wind turbines. As of January 2023, solar panels will be mandatory on new public buildings, as of 2024 this will also apply to new commercial buildings, and from 2025 to private buildings.

The Green Party, as the small partner, will receive four ministries, among them the departments for economy, industry, climate and energy as well as the ministry for transport, environment and nature; while the CDU will be in charge of another seven ministries, including finance, interior and agriculture.

The coalition agreement will have to be verified by party conferences of the CDU and the Greens on Saturday. On Tuesday, Wüst is scheduled to be elected as state premier in the NRW parliament.

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