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Tesla's criticism of the German bureaucracy resonates in Brandenburg. The Minister for Economic Affairs, Labor and Energy of Brandenburg is calling for a simplification of the industrial planning law and also hopes that Tesla Giga Berlin will start production in 2021.
Despite delays in the construction of a Tesla factory near Berlin, Brandenburg Economy Minister Jörg Steinbach expects production to begin this year. “I hope the first car to roll off the assembly line will be in 2021,” he told Handelsblatt.
At the moment, final environmental approval is still lacking due to factors such as the slow bureaucratic apparatus, the COVID-19 pandemic, and criticism of the project. Tesla originally planned to start operations in July 2021. The manufacturer was able to almost completely build Giga Berlin only with preliminary permits, which it received in accordance with all laws.
The Economy Minister also rejected criticism from environmental associations for the preliminary issuance of Tesla's permits. “The legal framework allows for prior approval,” he said. Steinbach believes that limiting the right of action of environmental associations deserves consideration. “I think it is questionable, for example, on what grounds the Bavarian Environmental Association here in Brandenburg opposes the Tesla settlement,” he said. “I’ll put a question mark on this. The length of the proceedings also requires careful scrutiny.”
Steinbach sees Tesla’s Giga Berlin as a role model for other companies. He said that the government is currently in talks with several potential investors who are foreign companies. For this reason, the minister has called for the planning and approval law in Germany to be reviewed following the completion of Tesla's process with the federal government. “With regard to the application of the Federal Emission Control Act and its associated approval procedures, we may be in a tunnel of operational blindness and may not see things that need modernization and reduced bureaucracy,” Steinbach said. Back in April, Tesla criticized the approval process for industrial projects in Germany.
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