Bonn Armin Laschet speaks out against the complete relocation of ministries to Berlin. The Minister President is calling for Bonn to be further strengthened as the second federal political centre, a location for the United Nations and an important centre for cyber security.
In an interview with the dpa news agency, Minister President Armin Laschet (CDU) praised Bonn as having “increased its appeal enormously,” over the last 25 years. The city has a network of ministries, authorities, UN institutions, non-governmental organisations, scientific institutions and large companies. “We must not jeopardise these tried and tested structures,” warned Laschet, referring to possible wishes in the capital to move all ministries from Bonn at some point. There are still around 6400 positions here (Berlin: 13,700).
The Minister President is calling for Bonn to be further strengthened as a second federal political centre, as a location for the United Nations and an important centre for cyber security. This is also the declared aim of a working group with Members of Parliament and official representatives of the city, the Rhine-Sieg, Ahrweiler and Neuwied districts as well as the state chancelleries of NRW and Rhineland-Palatinate, which has for months been preparing for discussions with the federal government on an additional agreement to the Berlin/Bonn Act.
“We will continue to firm up this vision by the summer and want to negotiate the cornerstones of a Bonn agreement with the federal government by the end of 2019,” said Laschet. He indicated that the relocation of certain individual ministries would not be an option for the state government. The UN Climate Secretariat coordinates global efforts to protect the climate. Against this background, it makes little sense to transfer experts from the Environment Ministry, the Development Ministry and the Research Ministry to the Spree, Laschet said. A short time ago, it was leaked that the Development Ministry wanted to expand its Berlin location to up to 1400 jobs – enough space for all employees. Department head Gerhard Müller (CSU) assured the GA a few days later that he was not preparing for the relocation of the ministry.
“Today only 33 per cent of ministerial jobs are still in Bonn,” said Lord Mayor Ashok Sridharan (CDU). This cannot continue. The division of labour between the two cities has proven itself and is not a waste of money. “Set the costs against the relocation and construction costs for each ministry that would have to move to Berlin,” says Sridharan. “How long could you commute for these? 100 years?”
The SPD state chairman, Sebastian Hartmann, who is also the Member of Parliament for the Rhine-Sieg district, recently strongly attacked Sridharan, as moderator of the working group, because of alleged delays. However, the Lord Mayor emphasised the working group had agreed on the timetable. According to GA information, there was still no agreement on the priority demands in a regional position paper at its last meeting in March. This will now apparently happen at a meeting in June.
Original text: Andreas Baumann. Translation: kc