Berlin (AP) - A committee of inquiry of the Bundestag is to investigate the controversial procedure of traffic minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) with the ruptured car toll.
The opposition factions of the Greens, Left and FDP brought with the required number of deputies an application for the way, as it was called on Tuesday from the groups. A committee of inquiry requires a quarter of all parliamentarians.
The panel is to review the toll preparations since the start of the previous grand coalition at the end of 2013. This also puts the ex-minister and current CSU country group leader Alexander Dobrindt in the sights. The opposition warns of millions in damages. Scheuer rejected allegations.
The U-committee should "comprehensively inform" the behavior of the government and especially of the Ministry of Transport in the preparation, awarding and eventual termination of the operating contracts, as stated in the application. The legal and budgetary aspects of the proceedings are to be examined, as well as "personal and political responsibilities and information and information practices" vis-à-vis the Parliament. Under the magnifying glass are also fundamental assumptions of the government on the economy, revenue and the operation of the toll.
Scheuer is under pressure because he had concluded the contracts to collect and control the toll with the operators Kapsch and CTS Eventim in 2018, before final legal certainty existed. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) declared the toll illegal in mid-June. Immediately after the verdict, the federal government announced the contracts. This could result in companies' claims in the millions. The Ministry, on the other hand, argues that it was the duty to swiftly implement the toll in order to secure expected revenues.
FDP traffic expert Oliver Luksic said that Scheuer does not have sole responsibility for the car toll project. "However, he has without necessity made massive and expensive mistakes." Until today, the Bundestag would be deprived of important documents. This procedure was unworthy of a minister and must be informed by the committee. Green expert Stephan Kühn said that the committee should show what costs the federal government should pay for the scouring of political responsibility. "We owe it to the taxpayers." The left-wing traffic politician Jörg Cezanne said that Scheuer was neither in a position to avert damage nor willing to participate in education.
Scheuer said of the Committee of Inquiry: "I will do everything possible to clarify what is still open from the point of view of parliamentarians." He has already provided numerous documents to Parliament. Scheuer said he sees the committee of inquiry as an opportunity for objectification and enlightenment. "The charge, we would keep something secret, I reject." The Ministry had informed extensively.
Claims from the opposition after a resignation rejected scouring. He leads the office with passion and joy: "I want to focus on the citizens on a good transport policy." The failure of the car toll was "very unpleasant". He is most annoyed. There was a lack of money for the road infrastructure and a failed project that would have been necessary.
The backing came from Union faction leader Ralph Brinkhaus (CDU). "Herr Scheuer's chair, of course, does not wobble," he said when asked. Shame was "a good transport minister, who moves a lot, who is very innovative". At the same time, Brinkhaus emphasized that it was the fundamental right of the opposition to convene committees of inquiry. You respect that.
The establishment must still decide the Bundestag. According to the motion, the body should have nine members - three of the Union, two of the SPD and one each from AfD, Left, FDP and Greens. In this legislature, there is already a U-committee on the terrorist attack on the Berlin Breitscheidplatz. The Defense Committee has also become a U committee to investigate controversial ministry consultancy contracts. Committees of inquiry may, inter alia, invite witnesses and request files for their work.