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19 Aug 2019, 13:13
Freja Eriksen

Funds for structural change in German coal regions in dispute – state premiers call for clarity

Spiegel Online / dpa / Tagesspiegel Background

Federal finance minister Olaf Scholz has ignited doubts about where a promised 40 billion euros of support for German regions to phase out coal would come from, according to information from Spiegel Online – leading the state premiers of Brandenburg, Saxony and North-Rhine Westphalia to call for clarity on how structural change would be carried out. "We need clear decisions on the 1:1 implementation of the results of the coal exit commission. Planning security is important for workers in the energy-intensive economy and for people in the coal-mining districts," state premier of North-Rhine Westphalia Armin Laschet told dpa. According to Spiegel, Scholz maintains that the 40 billion euros earmarked for structural change by the German coal exit commission should come from funds already set aside for infrastructure development. This would mean that other projects must be cancelled.

The financing dispute takes place just two weeks before elections are to be held in the coal-dependent states of Saxony and Brandenburg, where right-wing party Alternative for Germany (AfD) is near the top of the polls. Concrete decisions on structural change are scheduled to be set in law on August 28, before the state elections, but now, "this time frame is starting to falter," writes Nora Marie Zaremba in Tagesspiegel Background.

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