‘Car-less weekends’ threat for Germany

Car-less weekends threat for Germany

VOLKER WISSING: Minister wants net-zero concessions for the transport sector Photo credit: Olaf Kosinsky

Germany must choose between modifying its net zero law or banning weekend driving, Transport minister Volker Wissing said.

The Free Democratic Party (FDP) party to which the minister belongs hopes to amend the existing law and allow the transport sector, which is responsible for heavy pollution,  to miss targets if the rest of the country meets them.

Germany greenhouse emissions were at their lowest in 70 years by 2023, with only the transport sector unable to reach its targets.  This directly affects Wissing, as the ministry in charge of the sector at fault is legally obliged to create a programme to deal with the problem.

The Green party, in coalition with the FDP and the Social Democrats (SPD) led by the Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, opposes making the kind of concession that the Transport minister is asking for.

As a result, negotiations have continued since September 2023, prompting Wissing to warn that unless the Greens cooperate, his only option will be to ban weekend driving if the law has not been amended by the middle of July.

The Greens retaliated by accusing the minister of scaremongering at a moment when the cost-of-living crisis has eroded public sympathy for environment-friendly legislation.

Julia Verlinden, who heads the Greens’ parliamentary group, insisted that there were other ways of dealing with pollution which included a speed limit on Germany’s autobahns. Nevertheless, Wissing knows this would not be accepted by the CDU and Alternative for Germany opposition parties.

Meanwhile, the minister maintained that “nationwide and indefinite” driving bans on Saturdays and Sundays were the only other way that the transport sector could meet its targets.

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com.