Government declaration

"Mecklenburg-Vorpommern - maintening cohesion, strengthening the community"

Government declaration of the Minister-President <p>© Staatskanzlei</p> Show details

Government declaration of the Minister-President

Government declaration of the Minister-President <p>© Staatskanzlei</p>

Government declaration of the Minister-President

In Germany, the Ministers-President of the federal states traditionally make a government declaration in the state parliament of their federal state at the start of a new legislative period. Today (7 December 2016) Minister-President Erwin Sellering presented the main objectives and measures of the state government consisting of the SPD and CDU for the years 2016 to 2021.

In Sellering's view, the most important task of the coming years will be the consolidation of social cohesion in the state. A study carried out by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation has identified growing social polarisation. This can be seen in strongly divergent opinions and attitudes, but also in a sharper tone in debate, and even hatred and violence. "As the Minister-President, this has always been a major concern for me. It has always been one of the great strengths of our state that we have been able to solve our conflicts peacefully. It is very important to me that the strong cohesion that exists in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is preserved," Sellering declared in the state parliament building (Landtag).

Sellering presented six key points regarding of the work of the state government <p>© Staatskanzlei</p> Show details

Sellering presented six key points regarding of the work of the state government

Sellering presented six key points regarding of the work of the state government <p>© Staatskanzlei</p>

Sellering presented six key points regarding of the work of the state government

He stated that the 2016 Landtag election was characterized by opposing moods: a clear majority of people were convinced that the state enjoyed good rural development and considerable success. At the same time, the refugee question caused a deep division and great uncertainty for our society. Added to this, there were also debates on difficult reform plans, such as district and court reform.

In this situation, the state government was equally keen to see "continuity and change". Besides the priorities to date, the state government would therefore also like to set new accents in the coming electoral term. "We want to win back as many citizens who oppose development in our state as possible," the Minister-President said. That is why the state government was focusing on more grass-roots democracy. For this reason, a new series of events would be offered locally every six months, inter alia a citizens' forum of ministers. The chance to conduct public opinion polls should also be introduced.

Sellering stated that the new government had reacted to the structural problems in Vorpommern by appointing a Parliamentary Secretary of State for Vorpommern. Sellering: "Secretary of State Dahlemann is to be the local troubleshooter, an additional contact for the actors and the special interests representatives of Vorpommern at the Cabinet table. In addition, I hope to see the development of concrete projects, which will then be jointly implemented by the regional government and local actors, as was the case with the expansion of the "Usedomer Bäder­bahn" [a railway line on the island of Usedom connecting seaside resorts] and the development of the industrial port of Lubmin."

The focus of future government work

The economy and good work

The seaport of Rostock <p>© nordlicht</p> Show details

The seaport of Rostock

The seaport of Rostock <p>© nordlicht</p>

The seaport of Rostock

The most important objective of the state government is to continue to promote business in the state in the next five years, so that jobs are created and secured and the wage level rises. This is the best way forward for our state, also with regard to the fight against long-term unemployment and poverty, the Minister-President said.

When it comes to economic development, the focus should be clearly placed on sectors that offer particularly good prospects for the future. Here, the Minister-President specified traditional sectors such as tourism, agriculture and the food industry as well as the maritime economy, including ports. They also included, however, modern business sectors, from the wind energy industry and health care to automotive and aviation suppliers via the creative industries and the IT sector.

Sellering: The regional government sees a special economic opportunity for the state with regard to the "Energiewende" [energy revolution]. As expected, renewable energies have gained considerable importance as an economic factor in recent years. Today more than 15,000 people are employed in this field.

Infrastructure

Newly laid telephone lines for broadband expansion <p>© ThomBal - Fotolia</p> Show details

Newly laid telephone lines for broadband expansion

Newly laid telephone lines for broadband expansion <p>© ThomBal - Fotolia</p>

Newly laid telephone lines for broadband expansion

A modern infrastructure is the prerequisite for a well-developed economy and is of great importance for the quality of life of its citizens. The development and maintenance of the infrastructure is, therefore, the second main focus of government work.

With the A14 stretching as far as to the border with the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt and the B96n on the island of Rugen, the aim was to complete two important projects and to launch initial projects, which would be included in the new Federal Traffic Route Plan by 2030.

The ports are also to be expanded further. They are not only a hub and a port of call for ferries and cruise liners, but also among the most important industrial locations.

The state programme for the construction of social housing is also being continued and expanded. With regard to the expansion of the digital infrastructure the state has so far been very successful in the federal programmes. Sellering: I am very grateful that the previous Landtag has ensured that we can co-finance all these projects. We will also rely on the state's reserves for this purpose. But I am convinced that this will be money well invested. We need a fast Internet system – everywhere here in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

Families and children

Children on swings <p>© nordlicht</p> Show details

Children on swings

Children on swings <p>© nordlicht</p>

Children on swings

Already in the two previous electoral terms, a focus had been placed on families and children. Childcare is now to be improved further. Sellering: We will provide a €30 million package for daycare centres. With these funds, we will reduce the parental contributions in the nursery and kindergarten by means of a subsidy of €50 per child per month. And we will also relieve the families, who have to bear particularly heavy loads, because they have to pay the parental contribution for two or more children, even further. They will then pay only half for the second child and no parent contribution at all as of the third child.

The long-term objective is a non-contributory daycare centre – one which is financed in a sound, realistic and sustainable manner.

Good schools

Children working together in the class room <p>© Syda Productions, shutterstock</p> Show details

School class

Children working together in the class room <p>© Syda Productions, shutterstock</p>

School class

The common concept for inclusion, which had already been developed during the previous electoral term, will be implemented quickly, but not hastily, in the coming years, step by step and with the parents' involvement in particular. To this end, 237 additional teaching posts will be created and the funding of new school buildings and refurbishment activities with an emphasis on inclusion continued.

The reinforcement of the teaching of German, more all-day schools for an additional 10,000 pupils as well as making the teacher's profession more attractive are further key goals.

At federal level, the state will advocate the greater standardisation of the school system and the fact that it will be possible, in the course of the reorganization of the federal-state finances, that the federal government will, in future, help financially disadvantaged municipalities to carry out the refurbishment of schools.

Strengthening social cohesion

Social cohesion is to be strengthened and opportunities for both young and old, men and women, for local people and those who move to the region should be opened up.

The most important task in the coming years is the creation of more age-appropriate apartments in the state. A €20m programme will be used to make more flats suitable for the elderly. In addition, the special programme entitled "Lifts and Elevators, Barrier-Free Living" will be continued.

The state government will continue to promote equality between men and women. The proportion of women in leadership positions in particular needs to be further increased.

Integration is another important aspect of social cohesion. Sellering: We must give those refugees who want to stay with us the chance to find a place in our society. It is a matter of integration in daycare centres, in schools and, above all, on the labour market.

All in all, solutions will have to be found in which locals and refugees will not be played off against each other.

Sound finances

The sixth and final focus is the continuation of sound financial policy.

Our aim is to provide balanced budgets in the coming years of the election term, too. And, naturally, we wish to reduce the state's level of debt whenever this is possible, said Sellering.

After long negotiations, a compromise has finally been reached with regard to the federal-state financial relationship. This will enable Mecklenburg-Vorpommern to absorb a part of the solidarity funds that will cease to exist and invest in business and work, families and children as well as good schools even after 2020. However, the state faces significant challenges in financial policy, not least because EU funding is likely to be phased out in 2020.