German TV: the Danes can handle large projects

07/08/2014

And so the fixed link under the Fehmarnbelt has reached the German news agenda. A segment on the Fehmarnbelt project was shown by the German public TV service (ZDF) during prime-time, on the news show ‘Heute Journal’ on the 5th of August.

The upcoming Fehmarnbelt link and the modernisation of the infrastructure systems along the tunnel has been a topic of medial debate in Denmark and Sweden for quite some time. The interest for, and knowledge of, one of Europes largest infrastructure investments has however not been as prominent in Germany.

But that is in the past. The project has now been shown and discussed during prime viewing time in the news show ‘Heute Journal’ on ZDF.

The segment, shown under the heading ”the Danes can handle large projects”, contains interviews with the technical director of Femern A/S, Steen Lykke, and Per Homann Jespersen, a traffic expert from Roskilde University. Reinhard Meyer, Transport minister in the state of Scheswig-Holstein, and Michael L. Jess, vice president for the Danish Society for Nature Conservation were also interviewed for the piece.

Support through transparancy

In the interview, Steen Lykke explains that the solid Danish support is crucial to the success of such a large-scale project. Traffic expert Per Homann Jepersen adds that some of the sceptics were wrong about the Öresund and the Storebælt brigde – just as they are wrong about the Fehmarnbelt project.

Transport minister Reinhard Meyer continues by complementing the Danish model of financing large-scale projects – the equivalent of which is non-existent in Germany. The segment also discuss the solid and detailed environmental analysis that has been carried out in advance of the building of the fixed link. The piece states that a tunnel is preferable to a bridge due to environmental consequences – and that the inhabitants in and around the concerned building area will be kept updated and informed on the results on a running basis.

Michael L. Jess from the Danish Society for Nature Conservation says that he would like to focus on influencing the fixed link under the Fehmarnbelt, rather than preventing it. The closing note is that the fixed link under Fehmarnbelt will be approved by the Danish government in 2015.

See the segment here (in German)

http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/kanaluebersicht/228#/beitrag/video/2212154/D%C3%A4nen-k%C3%B6nnen-Gro%C3%9Fprojekte

The piece was seen by 3,34 million Germans, and had ratings of 13,3%.

Joint pressure on the German government

In accordance with the agreement between the German and Danish government on the fixed link, the German side has an obligation to extend and modernise the infrastructure on the German side, which includes railway tracks, motorway and the narrow Femernsund brigde between Femern and the mainland, on the stretch between Puttgarden and Lübeck. The deadline for completion is according to said treaty six years following the inauguration of the tunnel – a deadline which the STRING network and prominent politicians in Denmark, Germany and Sweden would like to see altered. STRING continues to lobby the national German government to assure that the German infrastructure upgrades are completed at the time of the inauguration of the fixed link in 2021.

The deadline for the completed infrastructure investments is also on the agenda for a political meeting arranged by STRING during the Fehmarnbelt Days in Copenagen, held from the 30th of September until the 2nd of October.

The fixed link under Fehmarnbelt is a section of the European infrastructure network TEN-T, and will close the gap on one of the last remaining infrastructure bottles between Northern Europe and Southern Italy.