It was a bad day for us world champions of innovation and growth engines. We were exposed to ridicule all over the world because a few Brandenburg match trees were not allowed to be felled. The German panic orchestra had to play very big, outrage in the business editorial offices and ministries. But now that the Higher Administrative Court has come to its senses, not only will the last bare jaw finally fall into the Brandenburg sand, but also a huge burden on all of our shoulders: You can still build in Germany, we can save face and ours Prosperity, for now.
Seriously, it is absurd how quickly in the Tesla case those participation rights and legal considerations, which are considered democratic achievements for the rest of the year, are dismissed as annoying hurdles for movers and shakers and world innovators. The outrage at the brakemen and critics did not only start with the Green League lawsuit against clearing, which is also controversial among environmentalists, but has accompanied the project from the start.
You might have to remember that nothing bad happened. In October Tesla announced that it wanted to build a car factory in Grünheide near Berlin. They signed the purchase contract in November. In December they applied for the building permit. The environmental impact assessment has been running since January. In February, the State Environment Agency allowed them to cut down the first trees, even though they have no planning permission. After the Higher Administrative Court initially prohibited logging, there was a five-day break, and now it continues. No, Tesla's factory is not yet an example of how slow and chicanery German environmental and planning law can be, but on the contrary, how fast it can go.
The pressure is not the problem
There is huge political pressure on this project. Politicians at all levels and almost all parties are united by the absolute will to bring the Tesla factory to Brandenburg, and quickly. This settlement would indeed be a triumph for the federal state, one of those rare reports of success that the self-reproducing story of the detached east can break up for years. It is therefore completely legitimate that politics and economists are partisan (and not mediators), that from the minister of economics to the co-governing Greens, from the mayor of Grünheide to the head of the German Institute for Economic Research (and ZEIT-ONLINE columnist) Marcel Fratzscher all care how you can do it right Tesla.
But for such situations there are laws, there is a rule of law. So that investors and politicians cannot just push projects through, no matter how well they mean it. So that the same rules apply to everyone, no matter how powerful, rich or ambitious they are.