Almost two years after taking office, the current federal government’s different positions on transport policy are becoming increasingly clear. While the Greens vehemently advocate a rapid move away from cars and want to make using them as unpleasant as possible, especially in the city, the FDP is resisting this.
Under no circumstances will his party take part in a policy against private transport, against cars, said FDP MP Jürgen Lenders in the Bundestag. In the debate, the FDP is primarily resisting a general, nationwide speed limit of 30 km/h in cities. The coalition members had agreed on changes to the road traffic law.
The reason for the current debate in the Bundestag was the first reading of an amendment to the law, with which municipalities can set up 30 km/h zones, cycle paths and bus lanes more easily than before. In the future, in addition to smooth and safe traffic, goals such as climate and environmental protection as well as health and urban development should also be taken into account in such decisions. Which of these points is weighted and how is the subject of debate between the political camps.
Speed limit for new drivers
The FDP is also clearly against a speed limit elsewhere. Members of the EU Parliament’s Transport Committee, led by French Green Party politician Karima Delli, had proposed slowing down new drivers across Europe with a speed limit of 110 km/h. Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) said that this was not acceptable. He advocated further improving the safety of novice drivers with accompanied driving from the age of 17. Wissing said his house also firmly rejects the introduction of mandatory health tests.
The minister harshly criticized the proposals to reform EU driving license rules. Negotiations are currently underway and, according to the EU Parliament, the Transport Committee will vote on the proposals in December. The governments in the member states could then vote by March 2024. It is uncertain whether it will then be ratified in this form, because there are different positions within the German government.
Finding a compromise at EU level that everyone ultimately agrees to will likely involve a few more rounds of renegotiations. The issue of speed limits, stubbornly defended by the FDP, will probably only remain a marginal issue at the EU level. At the national level, however, no agreement is expected. In the Bundestag, the view on this is largely clear: the Left, the Greens and parts of the SPD are probably in favor of changes to the speed limit, but the AfD, FDP and CDU are not.
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