Friedrich Merz Announces the End of the Energy Dialogue

Berlin, 28.01.2000

The energy dialogue initiated by the German Government with the Opposition has collapsed. The deputy chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary faction in the German Bundestag [the lower house of parliament], Friedrich Merz, explained today during a discussion from the platform of the German Atomic Forum: "There is no longer any basis for discussions, as Chancellor Schröder has ruled out the fields of nuclear energy and transport." Merz also emphasised his view that the Government would not succeed in keeping to the share it had promised of CO2 reduction in Europe. He therefore considers the government coalition (of socialists and environmentalists) to terminate the generation of atomic power to be "fundamentally wrong". There are no reasons, he said, in economic, security, energy, or environmental policy to bring the use of nuclear energy to an end. Merz therefore called on the Government to design its Termination of Atomic Power Act to be "reversible" in light of the possibility of different majorities appearing in the Bundestag after the next elections.

The President of the German Atomic Forum, Otto Majewski, described the Government?s plans as being "off course". There is no immediate prospect of regenerative energy being able to replace nuclear power, which means that, at the moment, the only possibility will be to make greater use of fossil-fuels such as coal and lignite. Not only Majewski expects extensive ramifications for Germany as a business location; Manfred Remmel, the chairman of the management board of RWE Energie AG, fears the same if the consensus discussions fail. "This will damage the entire climate for investment, internationally as well."

Ernst Schwanhold, deputy chairman of the [governing] SPD parliamentary faction, emphasised the importance of consensus between the Government and the energy supply industry by saying that it is "absolutely necessary". Lack of consensus, Schwanhold said, would lead to endless difficulties, and it would then hardly be possible to arrive at "a statutory regulation without compensation". Looking forward to the next round of discussions on 4th February, he added: "We can discuss a complete package including residual operating time, transport movements, and final storage".

Gunda Röstel, the national spokeswoman (co-chairwoman) of the environmentalist party Bündnis 90 / the Greens, said at this conference that the negotiating line indicated by Schwanhold would be an "acceptable basis for discussion" in the view of her faction, even if agreement on this basis "did not lead to the shutting down of a nuclear power plant during the lifetime of this parliament".


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