Majority of promised financial aid is yet to reach German coal regions
Only a fraction of the promised financial aid for coal regions has been distributed, triggering worries that a just transition is being put at risk, reports newswire dpa in an article carried by WirtschaftsWoche magazine. The federal government has earmarked a total of 40 billion euros for assisting the coal exit, of which 26 billion are going to be direct investments by the federal government and 14 billion euros will be paid out as financial aid to coal-producing states that are set to lose jobs and industry. However, an information request to the government by the Left Party revealed that only 4.8 million euros were distributed in 2021, less than one percent of the budgeted amount of 508 million euros.
According to the ministry for the economy and climate (BMWK), a total of 251 projects costing 4.3 billion euros have been "submitted and confirmed" within the financial aid framework. However, only 13 projects which will reach a volume of 96.6 million euros, have so far begun. Dietmar Bartsch, co-chair of Die Linke, called for the process to be speeded up in order to ensure coal-producing regions, particularly those in the east, are not left behind. "If not even five million euros [...] actually flow out of the federal budget in 2021, then we will experience the worst possible start to the structural change," he said. "Whoever wants to get out of coal by 2030 must manage the structural change and create the necessary jobs by 2030."
Germany's new government has pledged to pull forward the coal exit "ideally" to 2030 from its current 2038 target date. The plans have triggered fears in affected regions that jobs in the coal industry can't be replaced with new offerings on time.