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Ramsauer under fire for handling of Berlin airport
Photo: DPA

Ramsauer under fire for handling of Berlin airport

Published: 20 Jan 2013 12:59 GMT+01:00
Updated: 20 Jan 2013 12:59 GMT+01:00

An internal review of German Transportation Minister Peter Ramsauer’s handling of the Berlin airport disaster shows he allegedly made significant mistakes Der Spiegel reported on Sunday.

It was Ramsauer who initiated the special commission to investigate what has gone wrong at the German capital's much-delayed new airport, but its members have now turned on the minister, the magazine wrote after obtaining an internal protocol of the commission.

The airport's opening has been pushed back numerous times and it is now unclear when it will open or how much it will cost.

There has been much speculation in the German press over the last few weeks as to just how much Ramsauer knew and when about its ongoing problems.

Ramsauer was especially criticised by the commission for immediately firing the airport’s planners following the announcement in May that the June 3, 2012 opening would not happen.

Many local architects also criticised that decision, noting that replacing the planning office that had an overview of such a massive project would be very difficult.

Consequences of this “are much more extensive than originally thought,” the commission wrote, adding that following the dismissal “construction has not yet really resumed.”

During the summer the commission was more occupied with obtaining evidence against airport chief Rainer Schwarz, who was fired last week, than with figuring out how to get the project completed, the commission wrote.

In a report from October, it came to the conclusion that the supervisory board was either “incorrectly or insufficiently informed” over the airport’s planning.

Green Party politician Anton Hofreiter attacked Ramsauer’s handling of the affair. “A construction site with problems has been turned into an abandoned construction site.”

Matthias Platzeck, the Social Democratic Party premier of the state of Brandenburg and now sole head of the airport’s supervisory board following the resignation of Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit earlier this month, acknowledged major problems.

Setting October 2013 as an opening date “was clearly a mistake,” he said.

The Local/mw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:21 January 20, 2013 by pepsionice
Just my humble opinion, but I suspect over the past two decades....the real leadership on construction projects have passed on or retired. What you've got are mostly degreed guys out of some German university that claim they know how to control a construction project.

When this airport is finally completed....you will likely find dozens of major screw-ups that they just accepted and went ahead to open with.

This may scare the political crowd over the next decade to avoid any major renovation projects (like the Stuttgart 21 project).
15:39 January 20, 2013 by chicagolive
Berlin airport is a total debacle that really needs a serious discussion. Stuttgart 21 was a political ploy by the greens to grab power and use old fashion fear tactics. I have seen many construction projects, and I am not the biggest fan(no fan really)of Deustche Bahn, but for 10 years prior to ground breaking. Deustche Bahn had a exposition in the train station on the left side that gave full details of how the project will work, what will happen, what will be removed, what will be lost and what will be gained. The level of minute detail was very impressive. They even presented the information, and it was alot in 4 different languages. I hardly saw anybody and I looked alot; because I found the project very ambitions to do in such a developed city;did I see many people looking. They did not hide where the center was it had a giant 8 meter high Stutt 21 sign next to the entrance, hanging in the bahnhof. The greens just used bull and other mess and the idiots fell for it.
15:51 January 20, 2013 by catjones
Too incompetent to fire?
13:41 January 21, 2013 by lenny van
What about giving the guy a break?
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