Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: Dispute over responsibility for the climate foundation MV

The dispute over political responsibility for the foundation set up to support the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline has flared up again.

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: Dispute over responsibility for the climate foundation MV

The dispute over political responsibility for the foundation set up to support the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline has flared up again. On the occasion of a current hour in the Bundestag, the tone becomes rough.

Schwerin/Berlin (dpa/mv) - The Climate Foundation MV causes heated tempers both in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and at the federal level. Yes, the CDU governed together with Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig (SPD) when the climate foundation was founded, said the chairman of the CDU state group Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Philipp Amthor, on Wednesday in the Bundestag in Berlin. "But all this is not a blank check for Kamin-Gate, it is not a blank check for the Treasury Secretary now lying to Parliament." It had previously become known that a tax officer in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania had burned the foundation's tax documents.

The Rostock FDP member of the Bundestag Hagen Reinhold spoke of a "political farce" and accuses the state government of tricks and lies of a lack of awareness of wrongdoing and mistakes. His parliamentary colleague Michael Kruse even called for the resignation of Prime Minister Schwesig: "It's unbearable how long she can remain in office as a puppet of Moscow."

The foundation made a significant contribution to the completion of the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline by awarding contracts worth 165 million euros. Because of the Ukraine war, however, the pipeline did not go into operation. At the instigation of the opposition, a special committee was set up in the Schwerin state parliament to examine the circumstances of the founding of the foundation, Schwesig's role and the work of the foundation. The foundation had received 20 million euros from the Gazprom subsidiary Nord Stream 2, which demonstrably also had a direct influence on the wording in the foundation's statutes.

Even before the current hour, the head of the CSU state group in the Bundestag, Alexander Dobrindt, had described the climate foundation as criminal. The chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, Friedrich Merz, spoke of "downright outrageous events" that deserved parliamentary processing.

On Wednesday, the parliamentary group leader of the SPD parliamentary group in the northeast, Julian Barlen, replied: "It takes a good deal of historical oblivion when Dobrindt presumes to describe the climate foundation MV as criminal. Because at the time the foundation was founded, the CDU was active both on federal and as well as at the state level.

The Union also had to listen to this criticism in the Bundestag. MPs from the SPD, Greens and Left accused her on Wednesday of having been “ardent Nord Stream 2 friends” herself. They pointed out that it was a CDU state justice minister who approved the controversial climate foundation within 24 hours.

The Stralsund member of the Bundestag for the Greens, Claudia Müller, also sees the criticism from the Union on shaky ground: "In the current hour today it became clear that when the CDU pointed the finger at Manuela Schwesig and the SPD, three fingers were pointing back at her". Left parliamentary group leader Dietmar Bartsch rated the current hour as "a fairly transparent attempt by the Union to damage a state government, a federal state and a prime minister".

The non-governmental organization Transparency Germany also called for such a body in the Bundestag in addition to the investigative committee in the country: "The processing of the political networks surrounding Russian gas lobbying in Germany has federal political relevance," said Gerhard Bley. Many actors in the gas lobby network were former federal politicians.

But even between the foundation under Erwin Sellering (SPD), who is still on the board, and the state government, there is anything but unity. In a statement distributed in Schwerin on Wednesday, the foundation's leadership contradicts statements by state finance minister Heiko Geue (SPD) that the foundation prevented him from informing members of the state parliament early and comprehensively about the disappearance of tax files. "Unfortunately, the finance minister's main line of argument is not based on facts. It was not we who prevented disclosure of all circumstances, but the ministry," the statement said. In May 2022, the foundation expressly granted exemption from tax secrecy with regard to answering a small question in the state parliament.

The foundation and the state are arguing over the question of whether the foundation has to pay gift taxes of almost 10 million euros on the 20 million euros contributed by Nord Stream 2 AG. There is a lawsuit going on about this. Sellering also thinks it is possible that Schwesig will have to testify there if verbal agreements between the foundation, the state and Nord Stream 2 AG are questioned.

Overall, Sellering, who still considers the planned dissolution of the foundation to be legally impossible, sees the risk of criminal consequences: "The ruthlessness with which this is simply ignored and we are supposed to be "pushed in front of the hole" in order to distract from our own misconduct us quite dismayed".