Berlin, Jan 08 – The SPD is pushing for a resolute expansion of infrastructure in Germany in almost every area to maintain the country’s competitiveness. “This calls for a comeback of 21st century infrastructure policy,” read a statement made at the SPD leadership meeting in Berlin on Sunday. It emphasizes the necessary investments in the areas of mobility, digitalisation, energy and education. The Chancellor’s party’s demands aim not only at changing the law in Germany, but also at reforming EU rules. Among other things, the SPD leadership wants the traffic light coalition to introduce a “compulsory nationwide municipal heating plan” and a “master plan” for railway expansion.
“We must promote key technologies with a promising future, at least for a limited period, and greatly simplify investments in the future,” reads a commitment to Germany as an industrial location. Before the start of the two-day closed conference, SPD leader Saskia Esken had clearly sided with the FDP in the dispute over the question of whether planning procedures should be accelerated only in the rail sector or also in the road sector. “We need to put the turbo on rail and road,” she said. “As the SPD and as the leading coalition partner, we will ensure that all coalition partners pull together,” the SPD politician added. The Greens only want to speed up the planning process for railways, the FDP demands the same for road construction.
The SPD also aims to halve the times in the upcoming simplification of planning and building legislation. She also demands changes from the EU Commission. “Anyone who wants to invest in modern factories, future infrastructure or cutting-edge research in Europe must be able to do so quickly, easily and reliably. That is why we are campaigning for a reform of European state aid legislation with a view to future investments and our international competitiveness,” it says with a view to Brussels. In addition, the implementation of the Capital Markets Union in Europe is delayed in order to attract venture capital to Europe. In order to mobilize private capital for large investment projects, there must be more long-term planning certainty. “We also want to examine the establishment of a state transformation fund.”
SPD: INCREASED EDUCATION AND TARGETED IMMIGRATION
The SPD stresses that around 400,000 additional skilled workers are needed each year to secure today’s workforce levels. This must be served by increased education, but also targeted immigration. The comeback of infrastructure policy cannot be achieved “with a lean state”, Esken said. She would like to take “my friend and chair colleague Lindner” at his word for investing in education as well, she said in reference to Finance Minister and FDP leader Christian Lindner. “We can start right away in 2023 with the first phase of the Start Chances program,” she said of a planned program for at-risk youth.
As criticism of the speed of the expansion of the data networks in the FDP-led Transport and Digital Ministry, the passage can be read that “a reform of the expansion process and a continuation and readjustment of the financing programs for mobile and fiber optic networks (needs) that will accelerate development and corresponding living conditions”. Digital Minister Volker Wissing had just reformed the expansion process and was heavily dependent on private investment. “The area-wide network expansion is often not in the commercial interests of private network operators,” warns the SPD newspaper.
The SPD wants to start an infrastructure offensive
Symbol photo: Image by Pexels on Pixabay
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