“I really enjoy it,” says Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CDU) on his office. That’s not unusual for a politician. But when he adds “I still have a lot to do”, many people flinch – in the Bundestag, in associations, in companies. Others ask in disbelief: is he serious? Can someone like that serious failures still have the chutzpah to reach for the ministerial office again after the federal election – provided that the Union is involved in the government?
Scheuer has no problem with that. “It’s 88 to 1“, He says in a good mood, as is almost always the case. His ministry passed 88 ordinances and laws through the Bundestag and Bundesrat. The 1 stands for the car toll – everything else is flawless from his point of view.
But how sees Scheuer’s balance sheet really look What went well and what did not? What are his Strengths and weaknesses?
When Scheuer became Federal Minister of Transport in March 2018, the contrast could be with his Predecessor in office Alexander Dobrindt hardly be bigger. Although both have previously earned their ministerial office as CSU general secretary, they are very different types: here the intellectual, introverted, sometimes difficult Dobrindt, there the cheerful Haudrauf Scheuer.
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While Dobrindt leaves important legislative proposals lying around for months and sometimes comes to no conclusion at all, Scheuer decides quickly and spontaneously. The downside: Dobrindt discusses in detail with the transport politicians: inside the black-red coalition, Scheuer bypasses the members of the Bundestag and often the states – which often falls on his feet.
Name one of its positive properties Oliver Luksic, transport policy spokesman for FDP In the Bundestag: “He is actually interested in most of his topics – which cannot be said about all of his predecessors.” Indeed: Dobrindt is much more a party politician than a specialist politician, with Peter Ramsauer it was not quite as pronounced, but profound He didn’t leave any traces either.
Networking is not his strong point
Kirsten Lühmann, transport policy spokeswoman for the SPD parliamentary group, attested Scheuer “a lot of vigor”. But then she restricts: “Lack of communication, insufficient technical accuracy and low reliability have meant that the results often left something to be desired. “
The quick, often lonely decisions, the inability to form networks – Scheuer is also resented by his own coalition members in the Bundestag. With most of the parliamentarians, at the latest because of his behavior in the car toll affair, he forfeited it. His relationship with the countries is not just through that Formal defect in his house heavily burdened by the amendment to the road traffic regulations and the attempt to take advantage of them. And negotiations at EU level are also not his forte, as is the case with the Eurovignette Directive and the Turn assistants for trucks showed.
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In the case of the Eurovignette, Scheuer persistently refused to subject delivery vans up to 3.5 tons total weight to a toll. With this he wanted to protect the craftsmen. After long delays, the EU Commission asked Scheuer to make his own proposal. He then adopted Brussels’ last version, which leaves it up to the member states to decide whether to do so Small vans tolled or not.
At the turning assistant, Scheuer came back from Brussels and announced that the Eastern European countries were not participating. “If there is one thing that he cannot do at all, it is forging alliances, doing counter-deals,” says the Bundestag. In the case of the turning assistant, Scheuer launched a national funding program that has so far more than 10,000 trucks retrofitted became.
In general, one cannot accuse the CSU man of inaction. He passed 54 laws, 34 ordinances and a further 13 important programs and reports. In June 2020, the minister concluded the with the rail industry Rail Pact, with which the government wants to double the number of passengers by 2030 and increase the share of rail freight transport to at least 25 percent.
Deutsche Bahn keeps getting billions
The Germany clock every 30 minutes for the Berlin-Hamburg connection. More than five billion euros are being invested in more than 3,000 train stations. The government doubled the funds for the expansion of local rail transport (Municipal Transport Financing Act) to 665 million euros in 2020. In 2021 it is one billion euros, and two billion are planned for 2025. The federally owned Deutsche Bahn – already in debt with almost 30 billion euros – always receives new billions from Scheuer.
His initial reluctance to do that bicycle – for fear of annoying drivers – the minister has meanwhile given up. He likes to be filmed on the folding bike, his Campaign for wearing a helmet was at least an upset, albeit with no measurable effect.
It was more important that the federal government started planning and the Construction of cycle superhighways in the federal states and municipalities with a total of almost 400 million euros from 2017 to 2030. 20 cycle superhighways have been financed by the end of 2020, with many more to follow. The federal government will spend a total of around 1.5 billion euros on cycling from 2020 to 2023.
If you look at Scheuer’s list of successes, which is illustrated with beautiful graphics, you quickly come across points that people outside of his ministry do not find so glorious. So he boasts of the “Trans-Europ-Express (TEE) 2.0”. “We’ll be bringing the Night train connections return. It starts with the routes Vienna-Munich-Paris as well as Zurich-Cologne-Amsterdam. ”The problem: The federally owned DB canceled the night trains years ago for reasons of profit and instead relies on the railways of the Austrian and Swiss.
Scheuer’s news is also controversial Center for Mobility of the Future. Not only Sven-Christian Kindler, the budget spokesman for the Greens in the Bundestag, criticizes the fact that the Minister of Transport will spend a total of 323 million euros from 2021 to 2024 without a tender and location competition for a center in the Bavarian capital. Scheuer could counter that the Center for Rail Transport Research went to Dresden in 2019.
Scheuer’s critics are not impressed by track records or “88 to 1” slogans. “It doesn’t depend on the quantity“Says the liberal Luksic. “He just messed up a lot.“With the failed car toll, he burned hundreds of millions of euros in tax money, broke budgetary and public procurement law and lied to the Bundestag. “That alone would have been enough for three resignations.”
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For the heavily indebted Deutsche Bahn Scheuer has no strategy, the investment funds for rail, road and waterway are not flowing properly. “The minister said that he should be measured against it,” says Luksic.
The start of the federally owned Autobahn GmbH was “more than bumpy”. The MP also finds the enormous cost increases unacceptable: “Either the costs were calculated incorrectly from the start or the ministry knew better and informed the parliament incorrectly.”
Both with the amendment to the road traffic regulations and with Autonomous Driving Act Scheuer’s house made legal errors that would have delayed the process, said Luksic. Apart from that, the new framework for autonomous driving is very successful.
Purchase premiums for supposedly clean combustion engines demanded
at Daniel Rieger, Head of Transport Policy at the Environmental Association Nabu, the ratio of praise to criticism is similar to that of Luksic, although he sees Scheuer from a completely different direction than the FDP man. Rieger likes the fact that the minister has launched many popular programs to expand the charging infrastructure for e-cars. “Especially with the Wall boxes for private individuals did he do something right. ”That too National control center for charging infrastructure do their job well.
Otherwise, however, Scheuer has “the substantial Change towards climate protection clearly not initiated“. In the corona crisis, he even demanded purchase premiums for supposedly clean combustion engines. In the case of the Eurovignette, his time game prevented him from giving incentives for e-trucks earlier. The toll exemption for LNG trucks is a completely wrong signal and should actually have been stopped by Brussels if the EU Commission had not been concerned with the vignette.
The Airlines Lufthansa, Condor and Tui billion euros in government aid Without imposing any environmental requirements is a mistake from Rieger’s point of view, but one that must be blamed on the entire government. In person, however, he chalked up the fact that the only shipping he could think of was funding programs for LNG drives and shore power. “The issue of shore power is already being promoted by the federal states that have ports.”
By scouring Law on the Promotion of Persons the Nabu man sees “the danger that public transport will be cannibalized”. Of the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan 2030 will be “bluntly processed”. The issues of climate protection and land use would not play a role for Scheuer. The Nabu was in favor of a road construction moratorium, many new construction projects would have to go out of planning. “But Scheuer likes to be there with the spade, especially when it comes to road construction projects in Bavaria.”
Rieger really resents the minister for having the National platform for the future of mobility (NPM) was mostly made up of representatives from the industry and immediately after the start “pronounced a ban on thinking”. Nonetheless, the one calculated by the NPM Climate protection gap in the transport sector, the ministry simply said “way-defined“. Scheuer’s list of measures is not enough at the back and front. The minister categorically rejects changes in behavior and disdains low-hanging fruit such as a speed limit on motorways.
Söder fears the domino effect
In view of this balance sheet, not only Scheuer’s critics have been asking themselves since the toll debacle at the latest: Why is the man still in office? The answer reveals a lot about how realpolitik works. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) does not interfere in the question of how the CSU occupies its ministerial job. And their Party leader Markus Söder fears a domino effect. If he fired Scheuer, others in the CSU would say: Then must Horst Seehofer but also away. If the interior minister were to fall, others in the party would demand: Then must Development Minister Gerd Müller go, he’s doing SPD politics anyway.
So is the idea Dorothee Bear to make transport minister never been realized. The 43-year-old digital officer in the Chancellery would have done well in the election campaign. At least no one laughs at her suggestion with flying taxis – unlike at Scheuers Water bikes to save the climate.