Excavators in a quarry

© iStock/claffra

Today, the Federal Cabinet adopted the wording advice for a Structural Reinforcement Act for Mining Regions, which had been tabled by the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy. This means that the Bundestag and Bundesrat can now adopt the Structural Reinforcement Act before the summer recess.

Said Minister Altmaier: “Today’s Cabinet decision is another milestone in the work to actively shape structural change in the coal-mining regions. We will be spending up to €40 billion until 2038 to give the coal-mining regions and local communities a clear prospect for the future and to safeguard jobs locally. We will be phasing out coal by 2038, but we are doing so in a responsible way and whilst actively driving structural change in the coal-mining regions. It is important now that the implementation of specific projects starts as soon parliament has decided on the legislation.

The Federal Cabinet adopted the Draft for a Structural Reinforcement Act for Mining Regions (PDF, 533 KB) (in Germany) in August 2019. In January, the Federation and the Länder agreed on Key-points for a phase-out of coal and lignite (in German).

The wording advice for the Structural Reinforcement Act (PDF, 512 KB) which was adopted by the Cabinet today already includes the changes that the parliamentary groups represented in the government had made after the deliberations in the Bundestag and Bundesrat. These changes include an apportionment of the earmarked €1.09 billion to selected hard-coal mining areas and a new ranking and specification of envisaged transport infrastructure projects. Moreover, the Federation is specifying rules as to how these projects are to be included in the budget, so as to increase the level of reliability for financing for projects to support structural change.

The Structural Reinforcement Act puts the structural-policy recommendations made by the Commission for “Growth, Structural Change and Employment” into practice. Lignite-mining areas will receive up to €14 billion in financial aid until 2038 for especially important investments facilitating their structural change. Furthermore, the Federation will also take other action to support these regions with another €26 billion. This will take the form of top-ups for research and promotional programmes, research infrastructure projects, and new federal institutions opening in the areas affected.

The draft legislation now needs the approval by the Bundestag and Bundesrat for the legislative process to be complete. The Structural Reinforcement Act for Mining regions is tied to the Act on the Phase-out of Coal-fired Power Plants and will take effect only upon the entry into force of that Act.