BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s push to achieve greenhouse gas neutrality and shape up its industrialised economy is such a big job it could make unemployment a thing of the past, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Monday.
Scholz has vowed to lead the biggest transformation of the German economy in a century, aiming to make the country carbon-neutral by 2045 and fit for the future by fostering investment in digitalisation.
Speaking after a two-day cabinet meeting at Schloss Meseberg, the chancellor’s country residence outside Berlin, Scholz said the planned economic overhaul was a “great task” but could be achieved.
“What we have taken from our discussions is that we will succeed,” he told reporters, adding that the effort required “will create the possibility for us to say that in the next few years Germany will leave the problem of unemployment behind”.
“There is a lot to do,” added Scholz, a Social Democrat, flanked by Economy Minister Robert Habeck of the ecologist Greens and Finance Minister Christian Lindner, a liberal Free Democrat.
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Their three-way coalition is the first of its kind at the federal level in Germany.
In the immediate term, Habeck said it should be possible to avoid surges in gas prices this year like those seen last year, when Germany and other European countries scrambled to fill their reserves due to loss of supply from Russia.
“It should also be possible to fill the storage facilities over the summer without seeing price peaks like we saw last year,” said Habeck.
Scholz, who met U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington on Friday, also reiterated Germany’s support for Ukraine.
“We will support Ukraine as long as necessary,” he said.
(Reporting by Miranda Murray, Friederike Heine and Paul Carrel; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)
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