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Summer press conference with the Chancellor

"We still have a lot of work ahead of us"

In Berlin, Chancellor Angela Merkel has discussed with the capital’s press corps what the German government is doing for the climate and what other projects are planned for after the summer. She also expressed her appreciation of two new appointments: Ursula von der Leyen was elected President of the European Commission this week, and Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is the new Federal Minister of Defence. 

Federal government spokesperson Steffen Seibert and Angela Merkel, who was visiting the press conference Chancellor Angela Merkel answers questions put by Berlin's press corps Photo: Bundesregierung/Bergmann

The election of Ursula von der Leyen to head the European Commission is good news for Europe in particular, stressed Chancellor Angela Merkel at the summer press conference. She is the first German to hold the post for more than 50 years and the first woman ever to be elected Commission President, pointed out Angela Merkel.

Angela Merkel declared her satisfaction with the decision to appoint Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer Federal Minister of Defence. She has the experience and her appointment retains the gender balance in the Cabinet, said the Chancellor.

Pushing forward with climate action and ending the use of coal

Germany will not manage to meet the climate targets set for 2020. That makes it all the more important to meet the goals it has committed to achieving by 2030. By 2050 Germany wants to become climate neutral, which is a "huge challenge" as the Chancellor said.

Germany is to end coal mining by 2038, which is why the German government will be launching an act of parliament on structural change and energy security no later than September.

It is also important to retain forests. To this end, cash is to be made available from the Energy and Climate Fund for afforestation.

Climate targets: putting a price on CO2 is an efficient way forward

The Chancellor sees putting a price on CO2 as the most efficient way of ensuring that Germany can meet the climate targets it has set itself for 2030. The other side of the coin is, however, to ensure that a social balance is maintained. On 20 September the climate cabinet will be deciding on a large package of measures. Climate targets are to be met economically and efficiently, and society as a whole must be brought on board.

"It must be clear that our aim is not to generate revenue for the state but that we want to provide incentives for innovation," said Chancellor Angela Merkel. Putting a price on CO2 can achieve this.

No one-off solutions for maritime rescue activities in the Mediterranean

"We see maritime rescue activities not only as a commitment, but as an imperative of humanity," said Angela Merkel. We must move away from one-off solutions for individual refugee ships, she added. 

Angela Merkel supported the approach of Ursula von der Leyen, who would like to mend the error built in to the Dublin regulation on asylum procedures in the EU. The future President of the European Commission said earlier that she had never understood why migrants should be forced to stay in the country in which they first set foot on European soil.

Skilled worker immigration law on the way

Another major issue is the skilled worker immigration law which should help overcome the shortage of skilled workers in many branches in Germany, stressed Angela Merkel. In autumn talks are to be held with industry, to ascertain how the law can be implemented.

Boosting the economy

The Chancellor sees the German economy in a "rather difficult phase" after years of growth. For this reason the German government intends to boost the economy.

Planned projects include ending the solidarity surcharge for the majority of the population, cutting red tape, and establishing comparable living conditions throughout Germany. Decisions must be taken on the basic pension for people who have worked 35 years.

"A lot of work still lies ahead of us. This autumn is going to be busy," concluded the Chancellor.

Jul 19, 2019