As of: 01/21/2022 6:39 p.m
Two topics determined the first closed meeting of the new cabinet: the German G7 presidency and the shortening of planning procedures. Already in the summer there should be “presentable results” with the latter.
The German G7 presidency and the acceleration of future projects – these were the two main topics at the first closed meeting of the new cabinet. The government therefore wants to speed up housing construction, the energy transition and the expansion of transport routes and digital infrastructure.
The government wants “to get this country moving,” said Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The SPD politician referred to sluggish planning and approval procedures, in which you have to be much faster than before. “We have to get the pace there.”
The fight against climate change will become a dominant topic for the G7 presidency, said Scholz. In this context, he campaigned for an international climate club. “We want to ensure that each country does not go it alone, but that they come together to form a climate club.” The aim is to become climate-neutral by the middle of the century. You have to take responsibility for the planet. “One of the major tasks that needs to be tackled there is to stop man-made climate change.”
First results already in the summer
On the subject of planning acceleration, Finance Minister Christian Lindner said there were many private initiatives, know-how and capital. However, projects are often prevented by legal regulations. “Our country is tied up, we tied ourselves up,” said the FDP politician.
During the exam, ideas were collected in all departments on how procedures can be made faster. This should now be evaluated, said Lindner. The aim is to produce “presentable results” in the course of the first half of the year, which are then to be incorporated into legislation.
Habeck: Cut off “a few old braids”.
With regard to the energy transition with new wind turbines or the development of a hydrogen infrastructure, Climate Protection Minister Robert Habeck said that this could not be achieved in the current planning periods. “A few old braids” would have to be cut off.
G7 will be strongly influenced by Germany with a focus on sustainability issues, according to the Greens politician. This is a “real cross-cutting issue”. It also means organizing the global market in a way that benefits those who care about the future of the planet.
Scholz: Prepare possible sanctions
Referring to the tensions in Ukraine, Scholz said that Western governments are behind the scenes preparing sanctions against Russia in case of possible aggression against Ukraine. If there is a military action, it will have “high costs”. “An agreement will then be reached in due course about what we will then do and which individual measures we will take specifically,” he said. “We are now preparing so that we can then make this decision in concrete terms.” At the moment, however, all efforts are aimed at avoiding an escalation.
Scholz again rejected arms deliveries to Ukraine. When asked whether the traffic light parties were also in agreement on the issue of Nord Stream 2, Habeck said: “In principle, a government is always in agreement.”
Vaccination obligation: Scholz defends action
In the discussion about general corona vaccination, Scholz again defended the planned parliamentary vote without group guidelines. The SPD politician said on Friday after a cabinet meeting in Berlin that this should help ensure that “a large consensus” results. He pointed out that in view of the low vaccination rate, many in politics, but also among the citizens, had changed their negative opinion. That is why it is so important to go exactly this way and not through a government application.
Scholz welcomed the fact that the discussion that had been initiated was now being “concretized”. Seven MPs from the SPD, FDP and Greens launched a first concrete initiative on Friday for compulsory vaccination from the age of 18, which is intended to provide more protection in autumn and winter. They want to draw up a draft for this after the orientation debate planned for this Wednesday in Parliament.