German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to meet German city leaders on the most polluted streets where diesel cars may be banned as the car crisis reverts to the political class amid the election campaign.
The conservative newspaper, “Handelsblatt” that the conservative adviser, which is facing a complex situation between the suspicions about the formation of the Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW cartel among them, and maintain the 800 thousand jobs in this sector and issues of public health, is engaged in “race against the clock.”
With regard to air purification as soon as possible in major cities, priority is taken three weeks before the legislative elections to find a solution to this explosive issue with “avoiding the traffic ban” that threatens drivers in major cities, the chancellor said.
In this context, the judiciary, which received a complaint from the German environmental protection organization “Oomfelt Helwe”, has “more than 10,000 deaths prematurely per year” as a result of emissions of nitrogen oxide in Germany, may be forced to force the 70 towns that exceed European standards related to With this gas, to ban the most polluting cars in its streets.
This trend has crystallized, with several courts, particularly in Munich and Stuttgart, considering that this is the only measure to reduce pollution to acceptable levels. The Federal Administrative Court is expected to issue a decision in early 2018.
In early August, car companies offered at a “summit” in Berlin to adapt more than five million diesel cars, one-third of all diesel-powered German cars, and to facilitate the re-purchase of older cars.
But on August 26, the Federal Environment Office warned that such measures would not be enough to return to the required extent.
In this complex crisis, in which industrial interests overlap with the necessities of consumer protection and environmental protection, the chancellor has chosen to stick to her usual line, which is to issue an ambiguous message and refrain from moving.
On the one hand, it denounced the “great loss of credibility” of “whole segments of the automotive industry” after Volkswagen’s fake diesel engine scandal and information about cartel formation.
But in return, it said that “confidence in diesel” should be restored, leaving out a plan to abandon it.
Its meeting with the two mayors, starting at 9:00 am, is expected to result in commitments from towns to build more electric power stations and develop state-subsidized public transport.
“It is up to the automakers to make contributions” to clean the air, but the position of the German municipalities federation is not expected to be met, and the industrial sector will not make efforts before the second “diesel summit” scheduled for November.
Given the importance of the subject, it seems surprising that the election battle for diesel has not actually taken place. With the exception of greens demanding a ban on combustion engines by 2030, the political class remains committed to a similar line.
Conservatives and Social Democrats agree to defend diesel as a “transition technology”.
Although they claim to move to cleaner cars, they are leaving the industry with the freedom to regulate this transition as it suits them, without specifying the entitlement to stop diesel, unlike France and Britain.
Everyone is aware, of course, of the weight of this strategic sector, which represents one fifth of the country’s exports, and has so far embodied the image of high-quality production and the inherent reliability of Germany, before it is harmed by these issues.
Stefan Bratzl of the Car Management Center noted that the “silent approval” of some of the frauds also found an explanation for the rapprochement between major parties and car companies.
For example, Lower Saxony (North), home to Volkswagen, owns 20 percent of the shares, and the head of the local Social Democratic Government is a member of the company’s supervisory board.
The former director of staff in the giant 12-member group, Peter Hartz, was responsible for the social reforms adopted by former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and still described as the source of the current boom in Germany.
For her part, Merkel has resisted European pollution standards, which are considered by German car makers very severe, before moving one of its advisers to Daimler in 2013 to serve as chairman of the pressure group for the company.