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Blue Badge FAQ – Frequent Asked Questions Politics and the nitrogen problem

What does the politics say about the nitrogen oxide problem?

The various parties and ministries have very different views on diesel driving bans, even within a common government. The Federal Environment Ministry is led by the German social democratic party (SPD) and sees itself in the role of explaining the exceeding of limit values not only to the environmental organizations but also to the European authorities. For this reason, the Minister for Environment Barbara Hendricks has long argued in favour of more effective measures against nitrogen oxide pollution and the introduction of driving bans in particularly affected areas.
The Federal Ministry for Transport and Digital Infrastructure, on the other hand, is traditionally led by the Bavarian party of Christian-Socialists (CSU). In this role, the Minister for Transport Alexander Dobrindt  first, followed by Christian Schmidt (since September 2017), represented the interests of the automotive industry, which makes up a large part of Bavaria’s economy.
Thus, the CSU-led Ministry for Transport contributes significantly to the many procedures of the EU against the Federal Republic. No other country within the European Union has been subject to as many infringment procedures as Germany. Out of 74 procedures, 20 are from the Federal Ministry for Transport and Digital Infrastructure.

What do the different parties say?

Among the most radical parties against the nitrogen oxide pollution are the Green party (Grüne) and the Left party (Linke). During the parliamentary election campaign in 2017, both parties demanded a ban on combustion engines from 2030. In addition, the Left party wants to invest significantly more money in the expansion of the public transport network, also in the countryside.
The SPD stands against a forced exit from combustion engines, but wants to create further incentives for the renewal of the German fleet. After the announcement of the Leipzig verdict for diesel driving bans, they demanded again for higher exchange premiums.
The Liberal Party (FDP) expressed opposition to the strong influence of the politics in the development of the automotive industry. At the same time, however, it saw the obligation to pay substantial compensation to the customers and promote the retrofitting of diesel vehicle.
For the CDU party, electromobility represents the future, but a distant future. In autumn 2017, Chancellor Angela Merkel focused increasingly on the involvement of the affected municipalities and hoped to quickly set up a 1 billion euros aid package. However, the delay in forming a new government makes it impossible to make these investments available as quickly as foreseen. Since the Federal Administrative Court’s verdict against diesel, the government has promised to reunite all actors to avoid a patchwork of different and inconsistent regulations in Germany.