A senior official from Economics Minister Habeck has to go, but criticism of the planned law to replace oil and gas heating systems remains. Minister of Social Affairs Heil wants clarity on the project.
Social Affairs Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) has spoken out against a long-term postponement of the controversial law on replacing oil and gas heating systems. “It is necessary to create clarity quickly,” he told the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung”.
“I am confident that we can find a good solution.” He is for solutions that are technically feasible and socially presentable. “Climate protection needs broad social acceptance and shouldn’t just be a project for the well-to-do.” In the parliamentary process, the SPD parliamentary group will make sure “that no one is overwhelmed,” said the Minister of Social Affairs.
Resignation of State Secretary Graichen
On Wednesday, Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) announced the resignation of his State Secretary Patrick Graichen after he had not sufficiently separated private and professional life in two verifiable cases. The FDP is now stepping on the brakes on the law on the replacement of oil and gas heating systems (building energy law) – on the grounds that the parliament has lost the central contact person for the topic in Graichen. The SPD and the Greens, on the other hand, see no connection between the two issues.
According to Habeck’s plans so far, the law should be passed in the Bundestag before the parliamentary summer recess, which begins on July 7th. In addition to the FDP, several federal states also see a considerable need for improvement. Minister Heil called on the critics of the law to moderate: “We have to decontaminate the debate on the building energy law,” he told the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung”. He accused the opposition CDU of “pretending that doing nothing is an alternative”. There will also be no replacement obligation at all, but rather specifications in the event that broken heaters cannot be repaired, says Heil. In addition, exceptions, transitional periods and targeted funding are planned.
According to the draft law passed by the Federal Cabinet, from 2024 every newly installed heating system should be operated with 65 percent renewable energy. This should apply to all owners under 80 years of age. Existing oil and gas heaters can continue to be operated, broken heaters can be repaired. This is how the farewell to gas and oil heating should be heralded. Funding programs and other hardship rules are planned, but not specifically included in the draft.
Demand: More transparency in the Bundestag
Meanwhile, the Union in the Bundestag called for transparency from the Ministry of Economics. “We want the Ministry of Economic Affairs to see the structure of the in-house compliance management system, the compliance principles and all associated guidelines,” said Julia Klöckner (CDU), economic policy spokeswoman for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, the “Welt”. Furthermore, evidence is wanted as to when and at what intervals Graichen in particular and the management level of the ministry took part in mandatory instructions on such in-house rules of conduct and procedures.
The call for more control comes from the SPD parliamentary group. “There are already extensive compliance rules in the ministries, but their application must be more strictly controlled,” said the parliamentary managing director Johannes Fechner of the newspaper. “We should check whether there is a full pension in the event of a transfer to retirement if the transfer was due to gross misconduct.” It was right that Economics Minister Habeck had fired his state secretary. That settles the matter.
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