U-committee set up: Schwerin state parliament has the climate foundation investigated

The parliamentary groups of the Greens, CDU, FDP and AfD see no other way to get answers to the controversial climate foundation in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania than via a committee of inquiry.

U-committee set up: Schwerin state parliament has the climate foundation investigated

The parliamentary groups of the Greens, CDU, FDP and AfD see no other way to get answers to the controversial climate foundation in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania than via a committee of inquiry. SPD and Left abstain. Among other things, the influence of Russia on the foundation should be clarified.

After a heated debate, the state parliament of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania set up a parliamentary committee of inquiry into the state's controversial climate foundation. The Greens explained that all attempts to get sufficient answers about the foundation were blocked by the SPD and its Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig. The Greens, CDU, FDP and AfD parliamentary groups voted in favor of setting up the committee of inquiry, while the SPD and Left Party parliamentary groups abstained.

The Greens had launched the committee of inquiry together with the CDU and FDP. The CDU MP Sebastian Ehlers said that the climate foundation was “a kind of general contractor” for the Russian energy company Gazprom and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which has now been stopped. Schwesig and her state government accused Ehlers of a "wall of silence" on the background of the foundation. The investigative committee should clarify who was involved in the establishment of the foundation, how the foundation promoted the construction of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea with covert deals and what influence Nord Stream 2 AG or even Russian government agencies had on the establishment and business of the foundation had foundation. To this end, the three opposition factions formulated 74 sets of questions for the committee to investigate.

The SPD member of parliament Thomas Krüger rejected the allegations of the opposition. "A lot of hot air, a lot of willingness to cause a scandal, little substance," characterize their approach. No one can rule out that there were errors around the climate foundation, said Krüger. Before the war, the state government had clearly stood by Nord Stream 2, but Russia's war against Ukraine has now changed everything.

The then state government of SPD and CDU launched the Climate Foundation in January 2021. In addition to climate protection activities, the purpose of the foundation was to protect companies involved in pipeline construction because they were threatened with sanctions by the USA. Nord Stream 2 AG paid 20 million euros to the foundation. The chairman of the climate foundation, who is about to resign, former Prime Minister Erwin Sellering, announced about two weeks ago that the foundation had taken orders from Nord Stream 2 and passed them on to contractors. The climate foundation had the invoices of the executing companies reimbursed by Nord Stream 2 with a ten percent surcharge.

Four employees worked for this business area of ​​the climate foundation, a managing director of the foundation used to work at Nord Stream 2. According to information from the opposition groups, however, the foundation was also involved in several companies, among other things to buy a ship, the "Blue Ship", which was involved in laying the last pipeline pipes.

According to the CDU parliamentary group, the employment of a former Nord Stream 2 employee as managing director shows that Nord Stream 2 has received “exclusive and full access to an institution controlled by the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania”. It was not about protecting companies from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania from US sanctions. FDP parliamentary group leader René Domke said in the run-up to the state parliament debate that "the proximity to the circle of power" around the Russian head of state Vladimir Putin would be "one of the key issues in the parliamentary investigative committee of the state parliament". Foundation boss Sellering rejected such suspicions. It was "everything went smoothly - the board has nothing to blame".

After Russia's attack on Ukraine, both the state government and the state parliament demanded that the Climate Foundation initiate its dissolution. Sellering refused because he believes it is illegal. However, together with his two board colleagues, he announced his resignation on Tuesday as soon as the pipeline business of the climate foundation - probably at the end of September - has been completed. Prime Minister Schwesig then wants to appoint a new board that will dissolve the foundation. The foundation's climate protection activities are to be continued under the umbrella of a state-owned agency.


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