Why Chemnitz should benefit from EU coal aid | Free press

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Brussels has not yet made a decision, but the prospects that Chemnitz will receive money from the EU for structural change are good. In any case, Regional Development Minister Thomas Schmidt (CDU) was convinced of this on Wednesday in Chemnitz. The day before, Saxony’s government cabinet had decided to make the city the only municipality / region outside …

Brussels has not yet made a decision, but the prospects that Chemnitz will receive money from the EU for structural change are good. In any case, Regional Development Minister Thomas Schmidt (CDU) was convinced of this on Wednesday in Chemnitz. The day before, Saxony’s government cabinet had decided to register the city as the only municipality / region outside of the lignite mining areas for the new EU funding instrument Just Transition Fund.

According to the EU guidelines, the fund is intended for the coal fields in this country. In Saxony these are the districts of Görlitz, Bautzen, Leipzig, northern Saxony and the city of Leipzig. For other regions, admission can be applied for, but there are strict requirements of the EU Commission. Brussels must also approve this.

But why Chemnitz in particular? For the regional development ministry, the city is affected by structural change in a similar way to the lignite mining areas. In evaluating the criteria, Chemnitz clearly stood out from other regional authorities. One point that has probably contributed significantly to this is likely to be the premature withdrawal of energy provider one from lignite-based power generation. The power plant is by far the largest CO emitter in the region, it said. With the phase-out by 2029, CO emissions would be reduced by around one million tons per year. “We are of the opinion that there are special challenges in Chemnitz, but also other economic developments that we want to strengthen,” emphasized Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (CDU), who had come to Chemnitz with Schmidt. The original idea was to propose other regions such as Meissen for the fund. But that has been rejected – from the point of view of the EU Commission, this appears to be hopeless, it said.

For Chemnitz it is up to 97 million euros. A total of 645 million euros are available for Saxony by 2027, but 85 percent are reserved for coal mining areas. The remaining millions could also be used by them. Schmidt assumes that a large part of the 97 million euros can be used for projects in Chemnitz. Because a good half of the total amount has to be committed within two years – a tight time limit for the coal fields.

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Schmidt pointed out that companies can be promoted through the fund. Investments in research and development, renewable energies, sustainable mobility solutions, digitization, but also in the rehabilitation of fallow land are also possible. Mayor Sven Schulze (SPD) spoke of a “very, very good signal” for Chemnitz. Schulze has not yet been able to name any ideas for specific projects. “We have to look at the specific framework first.” But he still sees potential in the research landscape, for example in the form of a third Fraunhofer Institute.

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