The governors of Brandenburg and Saxony, Dietmar Woidke (SPD) and Michael Kretschmer (CDU), invited around 200 participants to the event in the town of Spremberg, including businesspeople, politicians, and scientists as well as representatives of local authorities, unions, associations, and churches in Lusatia. Both governors made it clear that a job creation programme for Lusatia with firm commitments is a prerequisite for any lignite phaseout. This view was shared by Economic Affairs Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU), who said that the goal should be “more and better jobs than today for Lusatia”. A Coal Commission tasked with developing options for the structural transformation, which will set a date for the coal phaseout by the end of this year, met for the first time in Berlin on the day after the Lusatia Dialogue.
IASS to provide policy advice
Karl Eugen Huthmacher presented Patrizia Nanz with a certificate to mark the launch of the accompanying research project his ministry will finance: “Socially Equitable Structural Transformation and Responsive Policy Advice in Lusatia”. Over three years, the IASS will study the structural transformations arising from the coal phaseout, advise the state governments of Saxony and Brandenburg, and support the development of an overall concept for the future of Lusatia by the “Zukunftswerkstatt Lausitz”.
Patrizia Nanz outlined the most important aspects of the project and urged politicians and civil society to seek democratic options for shaping the structural transformation. Researchers in the project are conducting qualitative studies to investigate lines of conflict and cooperative processes in the region. And together with the Zukunftswerkstatt Lausitz, the IASS is developing various communication formats, process designs, and spaces for reflection.
Political analyses are focussed on the links between individual and collective actors as well as the formal and informal rules that influence the region’s transformation at all political levels. The research team is also advising the economic ministries of Saxony and Brandenburg on funding opportunities for the design of structural transformation processes. Comparative studies of democratic and economic development pathways in regions that have already undergone a coal phaseout will contribute to the development of innovative and democratc ways of dealing with trade-offs between economic and political goals.
The team of seven researchers is currently being assembled. Any enquiries and suggestions can be directed to the project’s scientific co-lead Jeremias Herberg.