On Tuesday, the car summit meets with Chancellor Merkel. The organization Campact and Fridays before Future protest against a new purchase premium.
Environmental activists believe a new car scrappage scheme would do enormous harm Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/reuters
Ahead of Tuesday’s car summit at the Chancellor’s Office, activists from Fridays for Future, environmental groups and the campaign organization Campact are demonstrating against a new scrappage scheme. Demonstrators also plan to protest online and in front of the factories of major car manufacturers.
At a video conference in the Chancellor’s Office, politicians, representatives of the auto industry and trade unions will discuss aid for the industry, whose sales have plummeted as a result of the corona crisis. In the run-up, the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), managers of the manufacturers and trade unionists had spoken out in favor of a bonus for car buyers.
On Monday, the minister presidents of the auto states of Bavaria, Baden-Wurttemberg and Lower Saxony agreed to call for a bonus that would be graded according to environmental aspects and would also be paid for cars with gasoline or diesel engines. Within the SPD, there is resistance to generous aid, partly because manufacturers refuse to forego dividend payments for shareholders and bonuses for managers. Even among economists, for example from the circle of economic experts, there are critical voices against a premium for conventional cars. The state already provides subsidies for the purchase of e-cars.
"The car summit is now a directional summit that reveals how serious the chancellor really is about a climate-compatible, sustainable and fair corona policy," says Luisa Neubauer of Fridays for Future. "A car premium as demanded by the VDA is a maximally irresponsible idea – ecologically, but also economically." A new scrappage premium would make it impossible to achieve the German government’s too-low, self-set climate targets. Politicians should not counter the corona crisis with measures that fuel the next crisis, he said.
No decisions expected at auto summit
At the action in front of the Chancellor’s Office, activists will use replica cars to recreate a major crash. In addition, critics of scrapping premiums will demonstrate in Munich, Stuttgart and Wolfsburg in front of the plants of the car manufacturers producing there. The campaign organization Campact is collecting supporters on the Internet for an urgent appeal against a new scrappage scheme.
"Financial injections in these times must be measured by their climate impact," demands Quang Paasch, spokesman for the Berlin-based Fridays for Future. Money would have to be distributed for the benefit of those who are shouldering the corona crisis and at the same time suffering the most from it, such as people in system-relevant occupational groups.
At the auto summit, no final decisions are likely to be made on a new scrappage premium to support the auto industry. Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) has spoken out against a quick decision. VDA President Hildegard Muller had said in the run-up to the summit that she did not expect a decision on aid for the industry until the end of May, beginning of June.