24 Aug 2021, 13:39
Charlotte Nijhuis

Greens want to subsidise cargo bikes with up to 1 bln euros, other parties disagree

Süddeutsche Zeitung / Die Zeit

The Green Party wants to promote the purchase of cargo bicycles with subsidies totalling up to one billion euros in the next legislative period, Süddeutsche Zeitung reports. One million cargo bikes would be subsidised by the government with 1,000 euros each to promote clean mobility, Green parliamentary group’s budgetary spokesman Sven-Christian Kindler said. Unlike in the past, private individuals would also be eligible to receive a subsidy. Green chancellor candidate Annalena Baerbock criticised unequal treatment between people who do not drive a car and those who can get a subsidy of 6,000 euros for an electric car. The conservative party CDU/CSU criticised the Greens’ proposal and said cargo bikes are “rarely a real alternative to a car” for people who live in rural areas, but those people would still have to pay for the support. The Free Democrats (FDP) spoke of an “expensive Green patronage policy” and said many small businesses remain dependent on other modes of transport. Left Party leader Bernd Riexinger, on the other hand, asked on Twitter: "If the transport policy of the CDU and FDP is so free of ideology, why are billion-euro subsidies for cars okay, but there is a huge outcry about cargo bikes?”, Die Zeit reports.

The German government offers funding programmes for electric cargo bicycles to encourage the adoption of sustainable transport options in inner cities. So far, these initiatives have been aimed at businesses, for example those involved in package deliveries. Environment minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) says the government’s focus on businesses and municipalities – rather than private individuals - is “where the climate protection leverage is greatest”, adding: “It does more for climate protection, because in business you can make vans superfluous, for example for parcel delivery."

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