The Environment Minister has been let go, following what has been described by Reuters as the "worst ever election result" in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, on Sunday, May 14. As deputy chairman of the Christian Democrat Union (CDU), he was a "potential successor" to Chancellor, Angela Merkels position.
In a brief statement issued today, May 16, Merkel confirmed that she asked for the dismissal of Röttgen this morning. She reportedly wants to clear the way for a new beginning. The energy revolution is a key project for the Federal Government and must be pursued consistently, she said in the statement.
A successor to Röttgen has already been found. Peter Altmaier, Parliamentary Secretary of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group will undertake the role of Environment Minister. To date, the union leader from Saarland has had little to do with environment and energy issues.
Röttgen received criticism over his handling of Germanys new EEG (Renewable Energy Law), which has still not been finalized, despite months of toing and froing. Just last week, Phillip Rösler, FDP (Free Democratic Party) leader and Economics Minister, who helped Röttgen with the original EEG plans, sharply criticized him. "There is great anger at Röttgen, because he is unable to assert his position," one FDP representative told Reuters. "This shows how little influence he has."