Brandenburg to fund battery factory with 120 million euros

style="float: right; margin-bottom: 10px; font-weight: 600;"Wed 8th Sep, 2021

The government in Brandenburg, led by Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD), wants to give the green light for a state subsidy for the battery factory that Tesla plans to build next to its nearly completed e-car plant, according to Daily Mirror reports, with a total investment volume of around 5 billion euros and at least 2,000 jobs.

Brandenburg's Economics Minister Jörg Steinbach (SPD) informed the cabinet on Tuesday about an "administrative agreement planned with the federal government," the Economics Ministry said. No sums were mentioned in the announcement. On Thursday, the finance committee of the state parliament would deal with it.

Steinbach's presentation was noted with satisfaction, it was said from cabinet circles. The Brandenburger promotion portion turns out with 120 million euro smaller than expected. Actually the oppositional free voters had warned several times that costs of over 350 million euro would roll on Brandenburg. Now it is to be about ten percent of the 1.135 billion euros with which the federal government wants to support this by far largest German project in the EU battery cell program (total volume: 2.9 billion), as the Daily Mirror reported.

The application is ready for approval and has been largely agreed with the parties involved. To put the 120 million euros in perspective, Brandenburg will have to contribute around 800 million euros to BER Airport by 2025 to avoid bankruptcy. Nevertheless, state funds for Tesla, the most valuable automotive company in the world in terms of stock market value, remain a political issue in Brandenburg as well.

Thus the oppositional left parliamentary group presented on Tuesday an expert's assessment of the Streitbörger law firm assigned by it, according to which the relocation of the station catch lock to the Tesla plant planned alone at 50 million euro national costs would offend "in principle" against European Union state aid law. Bussiness Insider" had first reported on the expert opinion. Faction leader Sebastian Walter and ex-finance minister Christian Görke demanded a financial participation of the company, since the station would be relocated solely for Tesla. It is to be rebuilt about 3000 meters westward from the current location, with longer platforms and two 30-meter-wide pedestrian tunnels.

Görke spoke of a "Lex Tesla." However, in 2020 an expert opinion, also commissioned by the Left Party and prepared by former railroad manager Hans Leister, had recommended this relocation of the hitherto remote Fangschleuse station - and explicitly also because the village of Fangschleuse would then be closer to the station.

The Ministry of Infrastructure explained that an extension of the station would be necessary "independent of the settlement of Tesla" already due to the use of significantly longer trains on the RE1 line. Accordingly, this is not a subsidy that would have to be notified to the EU.

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