Tuesday, November 10, 1998 Published at 20:53 GMT
Germany to phase out nuclear energy - Schroeder
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder made his inaugural address to the lower house of parliament on Tuesday and vowed to phase out nuclear energy and develop a new energy supply.
In his address, broadcast on German television, he said disposal of nuclear waste was a great concern, adding that previous measures to tackle the problem had failed.
Schroeder also discussed measures to reduce unemployment, protect existing jobs and create new ones.
The following are key excerpts from his lengthy speech.
Nuclear energy to be phased out The use of nuclear energy has not found social acceptance, neither does it make sense in national-economy terms.
That is why we will phase it out in a controlled way.
Still, the Federal Government will not focus primarily on phasing out nuclear energy but rather on starting to develop a future-orientated energy supply.
The proportion of nuclear energy is gradually being reduced and will finally be completely replaced.
This is an enormous investment programme that will also create new jobs and precisely in these fields.
Here we are banking above all on the innovation and development potential of the renewable energies.
And we are banking on the consistent application of the savings possibilities in electricity generating, electric appliances, buildings, but also in road traffic.
With the power-producing industry, we will agree on adequate solutions for a future without nuclear power plants.
The coalition partners agree that the termination of the use of nuclear power is to take place by consensus, without recourse claims for damages.
We know from the talks over the past few years that we can achieve a solution by mutual agreement.
It was thwarted by the incomprehensible resistance on this side of the house.
National nuclear disposal plan to be developed We, our neighbours, and our offspring will continue to have the problem of the disposal of radioactive waste for millennia.
The previous disposal concept has failed in substance.
Instead, we will develop a national disposal plan.
Disposal will be restricted to direct final storage.
Nuclear waste transports across the republic that can only be secured by massive police protection are out of place in a democracy orientated to consensus and fitness for the future.
However, it has to be considered here that the previous governments concluded contracts that are binding under international law on taking back nuclear waste.
We must also settle this with our partners in England and France in mutual agreement.
We will only permit such transports if authorized intermediate storage capacities do not exist at the nuclear power plants themselves.
" Unemployment "most urgent" problem There can be no doubt that mass unemployment remains our most urgent and painful problem.
It leads to psychological destruction and the collapse of social structures.
It robs some of hope, while it scares others .
In addition, unemployment places a burden on society which currently amounts to DM170 billion per year.
The Federal Government is quite aware of the fact that it owes its election victory to a considerable extent to the expectation that it will be able effectively to fight unemployment.
And we will meet this very challenge.
Any measure, any instrument will be examined under the aspect of whether it protects current jobs or creates new ones.
We want to be judged... by the extent to which we contribute to fighting unemployment.
Tax reform Schroeder said tax reform was the first step in achieving the employment goals: The tax reform, which we will initiate these days, is a first step in this connection.
We will not discuss the need for a tax reform for the next 16 years and weigh the pros a cons of the different lobbies... we will implement this tax reform.
The reform is based on the understanding of economic needs .
It unites modern pragmatism with a strong sense of social fairness.
It focuses on easing the burden on the actively employed people and their families, the easing of the burden on small and medium-sized enterprises.
We want to and will strengthen their innovative strength.
The two things together will help reduce unemployment, create new jobs, and protect existing ones.
Our tax reform involves a reduction of the tax burden of altogether 57 billion .
After all, counter-financing measures, the citizens and enterprises will benefit from a DM15-billion net relief.
Income tax rates will be cut in a sustained way, child benefits will go up.
Over the entire legislative term, an average-income family with two children will save DM2,700 per year in taxes and rates.
BBC Monitoring (http://www.monitor.bbc.co.uk), based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.