New Hampshire, USA — The European shake-up continues as Germany’s powerful Minister of the Environment Norbert Roettgen was fired Thursday as Chancellor Angela Merkel looks to hold onto power following her party’s regional election loss over the weekend.
Roettgen had become the face of Germany’s shifting energy policy and he was seen by many as a possible successor to Merkel. He was replaced by Peter Altmeier, a trusted member of Merkel’s inner circle.
Roettgen had been deputy chairman of Merkel’s Christian Democrats, but he stepped down from that post following Sunday’s landmark defeat in the populous and influential state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
In February, Roettgen announced his nation’s most severe subsidy cuts since 2004, when government support helped launch Germany into a global leader of solar generation. But Merkel’s government has worked to slow down the solar boom in recent months. However, that effort was dealt a major setback late last week when Germany’s upper house voted to send the adoption of the cuts to the Feed-in Tariff to a mediation committee.