Is Germany set for another showdown on autobahn speed limits?

Is Germany set for another showdown on autobahn speed limits?
Picture alliance/Marius Becker/dpa
Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) have changed their tune on autobahn speed limits - with new chief Saskia Esken in favour of their imposition.

The SPD wants to enter into a debate with their larger coalition partner, the Christian Democrats (CDU), about imposing a 130 km/h speed limit on the country’s highway network. 

The CDU has hit back however, with Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer saying the government has bigger fish to fry in the climate debate. 

“We’ve got far more important tasks than putting this highly emotional topic in the shop window over and over again,” he said. 

“There is no (public) support for this at all.”

Esken, who took over the SPD leadership in December 2019, has said imposing speed limits will help Germany reach its climate targets, as well as improving road safety. 

“(Doing so would be a) free climate protection measure,” she said. 

Scheuer however told the German Press Agency that the debate had already been settled. 

“The Bundestag voted a few weeks ago and rejected a speed limit with an overwhelming majority,” he said. 

“We should act intelligently. It’s about better traffic control and guidance through digital technologies.”

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