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Mediator announces first Stuttgart 21 talks

The Local · 15 Oct 2010, 09:06

Published: 15 Oct 2010 09:06 GMT+02:00

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Heiner Geißler, a veteran CDU politician brought in to mediate between the project leaders and demonstrators, has said that construction on the multi-billion-euro infrastructure project will be halted during talks until November, news magazine Der Spiegel reported.

Opponents of the expensive overhaul of Stuttgart's main train station had demanded a stop to construction as a prerequisite for talks.

On Friday morning Geißler plans to gather seven Stuttgart 21 leaders and seven opponents for a private meeting, he said. Subsequent meetings will be publicly broadcast online.

“With this we’re opening a totally new way of citizen participation,” Geißler said, adding that it would bring more transparency and credibility to the country’s parliamentary democracy.

Baden-Württemberg’s conservative state premier Stefan Mappus welcomed the talks.

“It is good that project proponents and opponents can discuss the topic,” he said. “The dialogue can now begin. That means everything and everyone at the table.”

Mappus also said he still hoped to convince the public of the value of the project.

Stuttgart 21 is a massive undertaking to make the city part of a 1,500-kilometre high-speed rail route across Europe. It will require 16 new tunnels, 18 new bridges, 60 kilometres of new train track and three new stations. Stuttgart's terminus will be transformed into an underground through-station – requiring a dramatic re-landscaping of the city centre.

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In recent weeks demonstrations against the project have intensified, coming to a head two weeks ago when more than 100 protestors were injured as police turned water cannons, batons, and tear gas on the crowd to break up their blockade of the construction site.

DAPD/DPA/The Local/ka

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:40 October 15, 2010 by pepsionice
This poses an interesting scenario. What pieces of the plan does the opposition oppose....which routes are a major issue....etc. At this table, just saying you oppose the whole thing, all 100 percent, probably will not work. I'm guessing the railway planners could trim off various routes and settle for one-third less of route construction without a major problem (it'd invite congestion and limits to entry into the city but the planners know that these could all be added later when complaints occur).

The bottom line? The opposition will sit there and come to some agreement, with half of their supporters in a fury that this occurred. The demonstrations will continue on with half the hostility as before.
09:08 November 16, 2010 by JDee
the opposition haven't proposed cutting any routes, in fact they've proposed a more integrated timetable with a higher overall service delivery, all they are opposed to is trading off a large foot print traditional style station for a smaller more expensive footprint station + more office building, I really hope people who want to have an opinion about S21 have actually took the time to time to watch the debate
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