Urgent application against the heating law before the Federal Constitutional Court successful


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As of: 07/05/2023 10:59 p.m

The Federal Constitutional Court has granted an urgent application and stopped the final discussion of the heating law planned for Friday for the time being. This means that it can no longer be adopted before the summer break.

The controversial building energy law cannot be passed in the Bundestag this week as planned. The Federal Constitutional Court announced that the second and third readings should not be carried out in the current week of the session.

The court thus granted the urgent application by CDU MP Thomas Heilmann. He had criticized that Parliament did not have enough time. He argued that his rights as an MP had been seriously violated by the legislative process. The injunction was intended to prohibit the Bundestag from final deliberation and voting on the law if the draft was not submitted to MPs in writing at least 14 days in advance.

In their urgent decision, the judges of the second senate weighed up the right of the parliamentary majority to determine their procedures and the right of the deputy to be involved in the decision-making process. They could not scrupulously examine these questions in a hurry, they explained. But it is important that MPs not only inform themselves, but can also process the information. Therefore, under the special circumstances of the individual case, the interests of the plaintiff CDU member of the Bundestag take precedence.

Special session possible in July

The traffic light coalition wanted to pass the law by the summer recess, which starts at the end of the week. The draft law should therefore have been passed in the Bundestag on Friday. In principle, it stipulates that from next year newly installed heating systems must be operated with at least 65 percent renewables.

According to the court, the Building Energy Act could still come into force on January 1, 2024. Only a special session had to be held in July. However, not all judges agreed – two out of seven were against postponing the readings.

Merz: “Heavy defeat for the government”

CDU faction leader Friedrich Merz rated the court’s decision as a “severe defeat for Olaf Scholz’s federal government”. “The federal government’s unspeakable dealings with parliament and the public have now been put to an end,” he said. “This shows that climate protection cannot be achieved with a crowbar, but only through good and thorough advice in the German Bundestag. Olaf Scholz and his federal government would be well advised to use the judgment from Karlsruhe to pause. The German Bundestag cannot continue as before .”

CSU regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt called on the coalition to withdraw the law. “The repeated disregard for Parliament by the traffic light government has now been put up by the Federal Constitutional Court with a stop sign,” he said. “The traffic light should now be considered and this botched law should finally be stamped out.” The decision was “a heavy smack for the arrogance traffic light and its disrespectful handling of parliamentary rights and the public.”

Heilmann himself wrote on Twitter: “This is a great success for our parliamentarianism and in this specific case also for climate protection.”

The FDP Vice-Chairman Wolfgang Kubicki rated the Karlsruhe resolution as “a well-deserved acknowledgment for the Greens, who put inexplicable pressure on this process,” as he told the Funke media group.

SPD faction deputy Matthias Miersch, on the other hand, reacted calmly. “The decision must of course be respected. It does not affect the content of the law,” he told the Düsseldorf “Rheinische Post”. “The court expressly points to the possibility of a special session, which must now be discussed.”

Week-long argument

For weeks, the traffic light partners had argued about the heating law from Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) and Building Minister Klara Geywitz (SPD). The FDP in particular had concerns. First, the cabinet passed the bill. But even before the first reading in the Bundestag, the traffic light agreed on further changes, which they set out in partly vaguely formulated “guard rails” – a very unusual procedure that led to an initial expert hearing on the original draft law, which was already outdated at the time.

The coalition factions submitted amendments to the original draft law to the Bundestag on Friday. The hearing in the Bundestag’s climate and energy committee on Monday marked the start of the final deliberations. The committee draws up a recommendation for the plenum.

With information from Gigi Deppe, ARD legal department

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