The Lausitzring, where the testing company Dekra has autonomous driving researched and tested, is being expanded. Namely a new test center for vehicle traction batteries for electric cars. Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD) announced this current “fundamental resolution” of the Dekra Group, which operates the plant, after a joint meeting of the state governments of Brandenburg and Saxony on site.

Dekra had previously received a grant of 2.5 million euros from the federal government to set up a special 5G test track on the site. This high-performance mobile network is considered a prerequisite for autonomous driving. The former racetrack with 80 employees “now stands for high technology with 230 employees who work, research and test on the mobility of the future,” said Woidke. This is where “what we need tomorrow is being thought up,” said Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (CDU).

E-mobility, transport policy and future mobility: the briefing on transport and smart mobility. For decision makers

That was the highly symbolic accompanying message. It was political. Kretschmar used the press conference for a passionate plea to the federal government to allow the remaining three nuclear power plants in Germany, which are due to be shut down at the end of 2022, to run longer. It cannot be explained to anyone that the three nuclear power plants are “switched off and the lignite-fired power plants are being ramped up at the same time,” he said.

“I do not share my colleague’s assessment,” said Woidke. Minister of State Carsten Schneider (SPD), the Federal Government Commissioner for Eastern Europe, also distanced himself: “There is a dissent on this point.”

Kretschmer also described a coal exit before 2038, around 2030, as simply “impossible”. Woidke, on the other hand, did not rule out both if alternatively security of supply and normal prices could be guaranteed by then.

In connection with the energy debate about the oil refinery in Schwedt, Schneider assured the federal government that security of supply for eastern and northern Germany was a “political condition” for not using Russian pipeline oil. So it was harmonious after all.

The connection between the two governments, which have to manage the structural change in Lusatia supported by the federal government with 17 billion euros, has traditionally been close. Both heads of government, praised by Schneider as “assertive”, drew a positive interim balance.

There was agreement that infrastructure projects in the region, such as the expansion of the single-track bottleneck railway lines, must be accelerated. Woidke also announced that a “task force” had been set up in his state chancellery to “quickly solve” problems with these rail projects and the construction of the new ICE repair shop in Cottbus, the most modern in Europe.

In addition, the cabinets of both federal states agreed to set up a protective corridor against African swine fever (ASF) along the common state border. Such protective corridors increase the “braking effect on the ASF virus,” said Saxon State Secretary Sebastian Vogel. Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Saxony went to their financial and personal limits to prevent the animal disease from spreading further to Germany and thus to protect pig farms nationwide.

“Against the background, we would consider it appropriate if we received greater support from the federal and state governments,” said Vogel.

Building fences around affected areas is one of four pillars of ASF control. Saxony had also announced increased hunting of wild boar last weekend. There are already a total of 456 kilometers of permanent fence in the Free State, another 250 kilometers are planned, 81 kilometers of electric fence complement the metal fences.