Almost four weeks before the repeat elections in Berlin, the top candidates of the six parties represented in the House of Representatives met directly. At a discussion on Monday evening organized by the "Tagesspiegel" and the Association of Berlin Merchants and Industrialists (VBKI), they mainly argued about economic and energy policy.
"Politicians are not the better entrepreneurs," said CDU state and parliamentary group leader Kai Wegner. Debates about the expropriation of apartments or municipalization plans such as the current one for the heating network were therefore "completely in the wrong direction". In order to become more independent in terms of energy supply, Berlin must pay more attention to unused potential. Wegner mentioned an energy partnership with Brandenburg, more investments in photovoltaic systems or geothermal energy.
Like Wegner, FDP parliamentary group leader and top candidate Sebastian Czaja also criticized the Red-Green-Red planned apprenticeship levy, which should be paid by companies that provide under-proportional training or none at all. Instead of relieving the burden on the economy, which is urgently needed, it is becoming more and more regulated and burdened.
Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey from the SPD emphasized that when solving problems, everyone involved must work together and not against each other. That is why the economy is also an important partner for them. "I can't reconcile my conscience with advocating for expropriations when we're actually fighting for the fact that we want people here in the city who create housing, promote development and invest here," said Giffey.
Environment Senator Bettina Jarasch, the top woman in the Greens, defended the Senate's plan to buy the energy company Vattenfall's district heating business and its shares in the Berlin gas supplier Gasag. The heat transition is an important part of the energy transition. The state can play a greater role here as an "active player".
Culture Senator Klaus Lederer, as the top candidate of the left, also called for the heat supply to be "future-proof" and therefore taken over by the public sector. In order to achieve the ecological turnaround with regenerative energies, social security is also essential for the people of Berlin. A forward-looking economic policy is necessary in order to "raise future potential", for example in the cooperation between science and industry.
AfD party and faction leader Kristin Brinker opposed expropriations and complained about "uncontrolled immigration". This does not bring the skilled workers into the country that Germany and Berlin need. In view of the energy shortage, it is fatal that Germany is phasing out nuclear energy.