It's been a long time, but some can still remember that the traffic light government started a little over a year ago as a self-proclaimed "progressive coalition".
From the advance of the human race to higher and higher stages of development, it switched to crisis mode after the Russian attack on the Ukraine: First of all, the main concern was to prevent a relapse into conditions that had been believed to be overcome.
Nevertheless, some things have hardly changed, the project for example, to bring a country that has become too sluggish properly up to speed through faster planning processes.
The construction of liquid gas terminals serves as a model, which of course is comparatively easy to accomplish in the absence of potentially protesting residents.
The FDP and the Greens immediately argue about which other projects the model could be applied to: only those that serve climate protection?
Or also on the new construction of roads?
In the dispute, in which the coalition partners have gotten lost, both sides think too short.
Why is there a need for a law that already contains an exhaustive list of all projects to be accelerated?
From his Schleswig-Holstein experience, the current Green Federal Minister Robert Habeck always reports that streamlined planning processes do not necessarily have to worsen the opportunities for citizen participation, but on the contrary can even improve them: If everyone sits at the same table from the start, concerns may even be raised contribute more effectively to the process than with objections and lawsuits against planning that has already been tightened, which in some cases delays construction by many years.
Detach from favorite projects
If that's the case, then there's absolutely nothing wrong with introducing such accelerated procedures for projects of all kinds, whether it's about the much-needed wind turbine or the expanded pigsty that the farmer needs for species-appropriate animal husbandry to create the second track for a railway line or even the new construction of roads.
If it is true that all relevant objections can also be taken into account in a shorter period of time, the legal construct of "overriding public interest" that is at issue here is not even necessary - and therefore no exhaustive list of those projects that benefit from a such acceleration should come.
The FDP is right insofar as the speed of administrative procedures has nothing to do with the meaningfulness of projects.
Whether a road should be built or not should be left to parliaments and politicians at the appropriate levels.
It would be fundamentally wrong to restrict their decisions by deliberately keeping procedures lengthy.
It's true: the inertia of the German system sometimes has advantages.
For example, not quite as many unprofitable provincial airports as in Spain were built in Germany;
by the time the local authorities come into play, the infrastructural fashions will have changed again.
Such a form of delaying tactic, which leaves the fate of projects up to chance, can hardly be elevated to a general principle.
Conversely, the Greens' argument that road construction should not be the top priority for the time being is also correct.
The pent-up demand for rail is too great for that, the transport network is dense enough in many places, and the space that climate-friendly electric cars also need is far too scarce, especially in conurbations.
Here the FDP is not always completely honest.
And it is also true that new transport routes bring new traffic with them, which also applies to rail: every express train route, every cheap ticket also encourages journeys that would otherwise not have taken place.
But all this has to do with political decisions and not with the duration of planning processes.
If the government really wants to make the country faster, all of the coalition partners must detach themselves from their focus on their own favorite projects.