Taxpayers' association criticises expensive German coal exit
Der Spiegel / Frankfurter Rundschau / Deutsche Welle
Denouncing wasteful public spending, the German Taxpayers Federation has taken issue with what it perceives to be the country’s overly costly coal exit, news website Der Spiegel reports. Federation President Reiner Holznagel said a CO2 price would have made coal-based electricity generation economically unviable in the medium term anyway, Der Spiegel writes. According to the newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau, Holznagel argued that the government's decision to phase out coal-fired power generation by 2038 at the latest with compensation payments for energy companies and aid for coal mining regions would cost billions and unnecessarily burden taxpayers.
The EU Emissions Trading System already makes coal-fired power plants increasingly unprofitable, so companies would have exited coal on their own at some point, Holznagel explained. "But now the taxpayers once again have to carry the burden of an expensive symbolic policy," he added. The Taxpayers Federation lists 100 examples of waste in its "Black Book" report published Tuesday, among them a rail crossing leading to nowhere, questionable COVID-19 aid payments and a loss-making government-owned hotel, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle points out.