Transport Minister Wissing: A “low-loader” with traffic light experience


As of: 12/28/2021 9:03 a.m.

Volker Wissing describes himself as a “low-key”. However, expectations of the new transport minister are high. The FDP politician has an important advantage in terms of experience.

By Martin Polansky, ARD capital studio

Volker Wissing’s suits fit perfectly, his tie is always tied correctly. His appearance: engaging, objective, friendly. The 51-year-old Wissing grew up on a vineyard in the Palatinate. He has a doctorate in law, was a judge and prosecutor. “I am someone who likes to question things, who depends on objectivity, who can be very serious and who has a good measure of Palatinate humor that he likes to hide.

Martin Polansky
ARD capital studio

However, the low loader is likely to play a special role in the new federal cabinet. On the one hand, he is responsible for the important areas of traffic and digital. On the other hand, he has traffic light experience: “We govern constructively, efficiently and we don’t get lost in superfluous arguments.”

Strategist with traffic light experience

This is how Wissing once described the coalition of the SPD, Greens and FDP in Rhineland-Palatinate. For five years he was the minister for economy, transport, agriculture and viticulture in the traffic light alliance there – until May of this year. In addition to the new family minister Anne Spiegel von den Grünen, Wissing is the only federal minister who has been tried in this three-person constellation.

Traffic light in Rhineland-Palatinate – it went like this: “The coalition agreement clearly shows the signature of all three coalition partners. The economic policy of our state is liberal in terms of the market economy, environmental protection and integration policy are not lip service and social policy is geared towards social cohesion.”

Before his time in state politics, Wissing had already gained experience in federal politics. From 2004 to 2013 he sat in the Bundestag and made a name for himself as a financial expert. When the FDP was thrown out of parliament eight years ago, Wissing moved to Mainz. But in the summer of last year, FDP leader Christian Lindner Wissing appointed general secretary of the party. As an election campaign strategist and probably also to make the traffic light a realistic option.

Critically eyed by the Greens

As the new Federal Minister for Digital and Transport, Wissing is already being viewed critically by many Greens. Because the Ministry of Transport is considered to be central to the climate change – and the Greens would have liked to have occupied it themselves. Wissing’s self-image in transport policy: “I see myself as an advocate for everyone who needs a mobility offer. And that includes cycling, public transport, rail transport and of course private transport by car.”

But Wissing emphasizes that traffic should become climate-neutral in the long term. How heavily motorists can be burdened on the way there – this question could develop into a point of contention within the traffic light. From Wissing’s point of view, mobility must remain affordable.

Central FDP topic: digitization

The coalition has also taken up the cause of the digital expansion of the country – for the FDP it was one of the central election campaign topics. Here Wissing now has to deliver: “We need fiber optics everywhere, we need to close the white holes in mobile communications as quickly as possible. That is a minimum requirement.”

Traffic light policy is essentially finding compromises, Wissing once said from his experience in Mainz. He will need the ability to find compromises in his new office.

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