In the course of the movement currently taking place away from dependence on Russian crude oil to alternatives for the purpose of energy supply, the East German federal states are demanding efficient aid from the federal government. This was demanded by the Minister Presidents after a meeting on the island of Riems near Greifswald. During the discussion, the politicians quickly came to an agreement. In view of the enormous increase in energy prices, they spoke out in favour of financial relief for pensioners, the self-employed and students.
Russia must suffer the consequences
Energy policy was the main topic of the meeting, which was attended by the Minister Presidents and Chancellor Scholz. The politicians also agreed that the refineries in Schwedt and Leuna should manage without oil from Russia in the future. This plan was intended as a sanction for the invasion of Ukraine. This is true even though the East German federal states are particularly dependent on Russian supplies due to historical factors alone. Dietmar Woidke, the Minister President of Brandenburg, warned that there should be no naivety with regard to such consequences.
Hydrogen to be the focus in future
Both the representatives of the federal states and the participants of the federal government decided at the conference that a number of different measures should contribute to the promotion of energy supply in eastern Germany. For example, a hydrogen interest group for eastern Germany (IOW) is to be founded. It is also intended to strengthen acceptance among the population for the expansion of renewable energies. A summit with experts from the sector is also to take place in the near future. The entire project is called the Riems Declaration, named after the location of the meeting.
People in eastern Germany are particularly confronted with additional costs and demand help from the federal government.
Manuela Schwesig, Minister-President of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, sees the population in the eastern German states as being particularly affected by the current price increases, as many people there have to cope with their daily lives on a lower income. The SPD politician received approval from her party colleague Franziska Giffey, the acting mayor in Berlin.
In the German capital, too, many citizens already have to limit themselves immensely and cut back on their consumer behaviour. For this reason, Giffey also spoke out in favour of an excess profits tax, with which one could efficiently counteract profits gained from war and crisis situations. This could result in relief for the general public, as we are affected by the current circumstances as a community.
Misguided paths in the energy turnaround could have fatal effects on the economy
The Prime Minister of Saxony, Michael Kretschmer, also spoke at the Riems Declaration. This is a decade that has to be traversed. The wrong path could well mean ruin for the economy. He also brought into the discussion the continued use of nuclear power plants, which would have to continue to play a role in the absence of energy from Russia. However, the planned phase-out of lignite mining in 2038 should be maintained.
It is not only the energy supply in the East that is to undergo developments; in principle, more thought is to be given to change. This also concerns the establishment of research institutions in eastern territories and the strengthening of the representation of East Germans in important management positions. With the help of the federal government, the provision of medicine in rural areas is to be effectively optimised.