On September 4, 2023, Federal Minister of Economics and Climate Protection Robert Habeck met with a delegation from the municipal alliance "Lausitzrunde" for an exchange on the status of transformation in Lusatia. This meeting followed several company visits by the minister to the region and continued the intensive dialogue on the future of the region and its structural development.
Positive developments and challenges
The recently published first report on the evaluation of the Coal Regions Investment Act showed that structural development in Lusatia is on a good track overall. Important projects such as the Training Cluster 4.0 and the Cottbus Medical University are taking concrete shape. There have been no job cuts, and numerous projects for structural change are still to be implemented. However, the shortage of skilled workers remains a persistent problem.
Robert Habeck emphasized the importance of local government involvement for the success of the transformation. He also advocated a more flexible use of existing funds to enable good regional prospects.
Financial support and investment
With the decision to phase out Germany's coal industry, Lusatia alone will receive 17 billion euros for projects for a sustainable energy region. Future projects such as a large-scale battery storage facility and an innovative hydrogen storage power plant are in the planning stage. In addition, the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) is funding the production of battery electrode material at the BASF plant in Schwarzheide with a total of about 175 million euros, which will create about 150 new jobs.
The role of the Lausitzrunde
The Lausitzrunde is a cross-state and cross-party alliance that sees itself as the voice of the region. It serves as a community voice in structural transformation and currently consists of 56 elected citizen representatives from cities and towns in the region.
The meeting between Minister Habeck and the Lausitzrunde is an important step in the ongoing discussion about the transformation of Lusatia. While there are positive developments, challenges such as the shortage of skilled workers remain. The role of local governments and financial support from the federal government are critical factors for the success of structural change in the region.