Deutsche Bahn smashed? Union reaps malice for proposal

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IEveryone agrees on one thing: something has to change at Deutsche Bahn. The Union faction in the Bundestag wants to bring the break-up of the group into play. According to WELT information, there is a corresponding draft paper that the parliamentary group wants to adopt at the end of April. From the traffic light coalition, however, the Union reaps one thing for its paper: malice and criticism.

“I am pleased that the Union has apparently read the coalition agreement carefully and is now coming up with a copy of the plans described there to create an infrastructure sector geared towards the common good,” said Valentin Abel, rapporteur on rail policy for the FDP parliamentary group, WELT. “It would have been nicer if the Union had twelve years of creative freedom used in the Federal Ministry of Transport to tackle the real problems that actually exist.” The details of the traffic light railway reform are currently being worked out. The Union’s advance came too late and seemed implausible.

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The rail policy spokesman for the Greens in the Bundestag, Matthias Gastel, accused the CDU and CSU of having overslept the need for reform in the past. The Union could have already tackled this under its three transport ministers. Then the state-owned company and the rail infrastructure would not be in such a deep mess”.

The traffic light is now tackling numerous points: From next year, no more profits will have to be made with railways and train stations. They are also working on the implementation of acceleration measures. “More quickly has to be done in the renovation, renewal, expansion and new construction of infrastructure. For this we are prepared to invest considerably more than our predecessors, among whom the Railway broken saved was,” Gastel said.

In detail, the push by the CDU and CSU according to WELT information includes five core demands.

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First, the corporate structure of Deutsche Bahn is to be “slimmed” and the infrastructure and transport areas are to be separated from one another. “The holding company of Deutsche Bahn and its countless holdings and subsidiaries will be dissolved,” it says. Secondly, the rail network should be state-owned in the form of a GmbH. The federal government should have greater access to the expansion, new construction and conversion of the rail infrastructure.

Thirdly, the CDU and CSU demand that “money for the railways” must reach the necessary projects. In order to ensure this, the federal government should take over the “large majority” of the financing. Fourth, the Union – unlike discussed in the traffic light – with reference to the strategic positioning in the competition with China clearly against a sale of the logistics company DB Schenker. As a fifth point, the prerequisites for a “stronger shift of freight traffic from road to rail” should be improved.

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“The decisive difference is that, unlike the traffic light, we want a fundamental reform,” said deputy parliamentary group leader Ulrich Lange (CSU). “Augsburg General”who first reported on the project. “That means: We want to break up Deutsche Bahn AG in its current form and transfer its components to a new structure, in particular by separating network and operations.” The traffic light, on the other hand, wants to retain the previous corporate structure and only infrastructure units DB Netz and DB Station and service into one division oriented towards the common good. This is at best a “reform light”.

“Old wine in new bottles”, criticizes the DGB

In fact, in addition to the points mentioned by Lange, the coalition agreement states that the Deutsche Bahn AG as an “integrated group”. The internal structures are to be made more efficient and transparent.

The SPD refused to break it up. This “solves none of the problems in the rail sector,” said transport politician Detlef Müller. Instead, the Social Democrat pushed for a quick implementation of the merger agreed in the coalition agreement. “The traffic light has long been on the subject. It would make sense for the Union to use its strength to constructively participate in their implementation.”

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The national chairman of the Pro Bahn passenger association, Detlef Neuß, speaks of a “turnaround” by the Union. In terms of content, the proposals are supported there. For years, people have been in favor of separating the network and operations at the railways. But: “It is less important to us to break up the DB AG group than to convert both the network and the station and service into a company form that is not profit-oriented but works for the common good. From our point of view, an AG is not suitable for this,” says Neuß. As a compromise, a non-profit GmbH under the umbrella of DB is conceivable.

The German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) spoke of “old wine in new bottles”. For years, too little has been invested in rail, which cannot be solved by breaking up the chronically underfunded railway, said DGB board member Stefan Körzell on Sunday. Years of structural debate would rather exacerbate the existing problems than solve them in the interests of customers. “It must finally solid in the rail are invested, this is the only way to succeed in switching to rail in order to achieve the climate targets. Politicians should now see to that.”

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