Saxony's state premier says climate package 'discriminates against people in Germany'
The premier of the eastern German state of Saxony, Michael Kretschmer, has criticised the federal government's climate action package, arguing that it "discriminates against people living in Germany," the news website Focus Online reports. Kretschmer said Germany should "stick to the European framework" and not introduce any national rules for climate action. The premier said Germany's attempt to introduce a national road toll that would have been paid exclusively by foreign drivers was not allowed due to EU rules prohibiting discrimination against foreign nationals. "Discriminating against people living in Germany is not prohibited, but it is equally wrong," he said. The conservative politician of Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU party said there already exists a European emissions trading system, asking "why do we come up with a national one now?" Kretschmer added that an aviation levy planned in the government's Climate Action Programme would only lead to higher costs for passengers starting their journey from German airports and also criticised the country's coal exit. "Does it really have to happen so fast that we put our supply security in danger?"
Kretschmer's party took a heavy beating in the recent state elections in Saxony, in which the right-wing nationalist AfD party made large gains and came in second behind the CDU. The government's climate package plans to introduce a carbon pricing scheme for the buildings and transport sectors, which does not yet exist at the European level, where only industry and energy production emissions are traded. The pricing scheme will increase fuel costs in Germany, but includes several compensation mechanisms. Supply security has been a key objective for the commission that proposed Germany's 2038 coal phase-out and the country's federal network agency (BNetzA) has to greenlight every plant that goes offline to ensure supply security is not compromised.