Initiator of the Lusatia Monitor: "Lusatia has an immigration problem, not an emigration problem".

At the 19th Lusatia Conference, trade unions demand more say in the structural change process from Saxony's Minister President Michael Kretschmer.

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From Nora Miethke

The first evaluation - a kind of audit report - of the structural change process in the coal regions shows: By far the most subsidies, the use of which the federal states can decide themselves, are being spent in the County of Görlitz fwere approved. This is also where the most projects have been approved in comparison. However, the Saxon part of the Lusatian mining region has the lowest growth rate in terms of employment development.

What follows from this was discussed on Tuesday at the 19th Lusatia Conference of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) discussed in Saxony. Markus Schlimbach, chairman of DGB Saxony, called for the issue of good, long-term jobs to be a focus of all structural change decisions. "The evaluations provide an opportunity to use funds more effectively in the future to create framework conditions for jobs that are subject to collective bargaining and codetermination," Schlimbach said. In Saxony in particular, he said, the funding is not sufficiently targeted. The unions are calling for more say and the establishment of "transformation advisory councils" locally and at the state level to improve participation.

According to the current Lusatia Monitor, the greatest dissatisfaction in the Lusatian coalfield is with the wage level, emphasized initiator Jörg Heidig. The survey of 1,000 residents also showed that optimism about the future is waning, especially in the 40 to 59 age group. In addition, there is a perception gap. Two out of three respondents believe that structural change is necessary, but only one in three believes that it has already started.

Kretschmer: "No one in the CDU wants to form a coalition with the AfD".

According to Heidig, the real demographic problem in Lusatia is that there is too little immigration. "Lusatia has an immigration problem, not an emigration problem," says the expert. That's why the employment growth rate is also lower. But fears of right-wing populism would make potential workers shy away, emphasized Anika Noack of the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR) in Cottbus. Saxony Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer misses "a mindset, an attitude that it is something nice when people come to us from the outside. He vehemently rejected a young man's fear that, in light of current polls, the CDU in Saxony could form a coalition with the AfD after the next state election after all. "No one in the CDU state parliamentary group wants to form a coalition with the AfD. These polls should shake us up, we have it in our hands to prevent," said Kretschmer.

However, he added that this includes no longer shaking the 2038 date for the coal phase-out. "2038 is out of the question for me. I need this time to bring visibility to the measures," stressed Klaus Freytag, Lusatia representative of the Brandenburg state government.

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