Car industry must downsize, says new Green state premier

Car industry must downsize, says new Green state premier
Photo: DPA
Winfried Kretschmann, set to become Germany’s first Green state premier in Baden-Württemberg, says the auto industry must produce fewer vehicles and make sure they use less fuel.

Kretschmann, whose coalition with the centre-left Social Democratic Party will likely take power in the state home to much of Germany’s auto production next month, said he stood by his attitude that fewer cars were better than more.

“Fewer cars are of course better than more. We must sell mobility concepts in the future and not just cars. That includes walking, bicycles, cars, trains. We must join these up so well that one can travel easily and protect the environment,” he told the Bild am Sonntag.

“We want to export green products and services. We must demonstrate that prosperity is possible without destruction of natural resources. That is our special responsibility; that is why a Green is going to be state premier here. Otherwise someone else could do it.”

When asked whether the 180,000 jobs which are dependent on car production in the Stuttgart region alone would not be endangered by his policies, he said, “Quite the opposite. If the car industry does not manage to become greener, it will have no future.”

The state of Baden-Württemberg owns 46 percent of the energy company EnBW, which runs four nuclear power stations, and which warned of a drop in profits of 25 percent due to the moratorium on nuclear power announced last month.

When asked whether this concerned him, Kretschmann said, “The drop in profits does worry me, of course. It shows that EnBW has relied for too long on nuclear energy and now has to invest massively in renewable energy and cooperate with the municipal works in order to achieve long-term stable profits.”

Kretschmann was also asked about his relationship with former Green Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, who now works as a consultant – and whether he had to pay for his advice.

“I did ask him for advice during the election campaign. Anything else would be remarkable from two old colleagues. His advice is valuable to me and not expensive,” he said.

When asked whether Fischer’s return to politics would help the Greens, Kretschmann said, “I would welcome it if Joschka returned to politics, but I don’t think that he wants to.”

The Local/hc

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