German transport minister met environmental groups only once in whole term
WirtschaftsWoche / dpa / Süddeutsche Zeitung
German transport minister Andreas Scheuer has met with environmental groups only once since he took office, while his ministry registered dozens of meetings with representatives of the car industry, reports by Süddeutsche Zeitung and news agency dpa in WirtschaftsWoche say. Green Party MP Sven Christian Kindler requested the data on the minister's meetings from the transport ministry (BMVI) and found that Scheuer has had direct contact with representatives of carmakers VW, BMW, Daimler or industry group VDA and others 80 times since 2018 -- and only once with environmental associations. Scheuer “can be reached day and night for the bosses of the car companies, while he lets the environmental associations down cold,” said Kindler, the Greens’ spokesman for budget issues.According to the ministry's response, the one meeting with an environmental group took place at a parliamentary event discussing the future of mobility in January 2020, which was also attended by automotive industry representatives. It’s unclear who Scheuer had an exchange with at the event, said Jens Hilgenberg, head of transport policy at the Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND). “As far as I know, there have been no personal conversations with the BUND in four years. This is all the more astonishing because individual car manufacturers have shown and are showing interest in the assessments of the environmental associations on climate protection, the traffic transition and the transformation of the auto industry."
Environmentalis groups have frequently attacked the minister over his policy record, as the transport sector has failed to cut emissions significantly. While more German automakers are switching to electric vehicles, the sector has been hesitant to give up the combustion engine as it seeks to reach its own climate targets. Even though a large-scale transition to e-cars seems to have taken hold across the industry, Germany's transport sector has been the most sluggish to reduce emissions in the past decades and has been singled out as the one requiring most immediate action by government advisors.