New Legal Opinion Says Parliament Can Pass Nuclear Power Extension without Bundesrat Consent

In a legal opinion, former Defence Minister and law professor Rupert Scholz, comes to the conclusion that the government does not need the consent of the Federal Council for an extension of the operating time of the German power plants, writes Bild Zeitung.

Whether or not the Federal Council, the legislative body that represents the sixteen Länder (Federal States) on the federal level, has to consent is heavily disputed not only between the government and the opposition, but also within the government. After the loss of the CDU/FDP majority in the recent state election in North Rhine-Westphalia the CDU, CSU and FDP coalition in Berlin under Chancellor Angela Merkel no longer has a majority in the Federal Council.

Reportedly, Prof. Scholz mainly argues that the oversight which the competent authorities in the federal states are exerting with respect to the nuclear power plant operators would not be affected by an extention of the life-span of the nuclear power plants. The oversight which the Länder exercise on federal commission (Bundesauftragsverwaltung) would not be changed in its quality and did not gain a new meaning or scope, according to Prof. Scholz.

Prof. Scholz’ opinion thus differs from an opinion by the former President of the Federal Constitutional Court, Prof. Papier (please see related posts). Federal Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen (CDU) had likewise expressed scepticism that the operating times could be extended significantly without the consent of the Federal Council. The Scientific Services (Wissenschaftliche Dienste) of the Bundestag also recently published their opinion that an extension of the operating time of the nuclear plants requires consent.

According to the weekly magazine Der Spiegel, the Social Democrats and the Greens announced they would challenge an extension, should the government want to bypass the Federal Council.

Source: Bild, Spiegel

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