Ramsauer wants new plates

Patriotism. But is it local.    -munichFOTO


Peter Ramsauer, Germany's Minister of Transport, has presented a new concept to introduce more local number plates or what are also called license plates. "This is a highly emotional topic for German car drivers. Having number plates with the code of the town you actually live in on them, and not just the code of your county (Landkreis), is a perfect way to show local patriotism," Mr. Ramsauer told online news platform n-tv.de. Furthermore, he believes the new plates could promote some less well-known towns in the country.


The minister's new concept is enjoying great support by local governments. Mayors of many small towns are eager to have their old "Kennzeichen" returned, which were valid until district reforms, such as the ones in Bavaria in 1972 when many small towns and villages lost their autonomy and were put together to form bigger "Landkreise". Some of the number plates that are no longer made can still be seen on old tractors and automobiles for which owners have not yet bought a new tag.


Additionally, Mr. Ramsauer's concept also includes the possibility that local governments can introduce codes that are completely new. Critics of the concept say that a larger number of different city codes on cars will make work more difficult for the police when it comes to car accidents or robberies. "The whole thing will do nothing more than confuse people", a police spokesman said. "If people feel the need to tell everybody where they come from, they should put a sticker on their car." The concept will be discussed in the Bundesrat, which is one of the houses of the German Parliament, before the end of this year.


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