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The Commission on Growth, Structural Change and Employment has recommended the phasing out of lignite production and electricity generation. This will bring to the regions concerned a further phase of structural change. Lusatia already has experience with structural change, and most of the reductions in employment in the lignite industry took place after reunification. Nevertheless, the decision to phase out lignite is taking place in the region. It is losing a core of its industrial identity and must now look for new growth prospects. The peculiarity of the current phase of structural change is that it is entirely politically determined. Lignite production and electricity generation in Lusatia does not suffer from too little competitiveness. On the contrary, it is highly productive and could probably remain successful on the market for a long time to come. This gives political explosiveness to the impending structural change. The decision to leave may well be justified from a climate policy point of view, but from the region’s point of view it appears to be an external intervention in a still well-functioning industry with a long and great tradition. It is now also clear that the phase-out of coal will lead to significant transfer flows to Lusatia over many years. Under the conditions described above, the demand for compensation for the expected burdens of regional structural change is understandable. However, the flow of transfers also involves a danger. If the states of Brandenburg and Saxony, as well as the region itself, were not very responsible with the funds that flow to them from the entire German tax revenue, this would rightly lead to considerable criticism. The region will receive significant flows of funding, but it is also responsible for using structural change as an opportunity. This means, first of all, that Lusatia must be clear about its own potential. To this end, this study is intended to make a first contribution in the sense of taking stock. Their aim cannot be to offer a formulated new growth model. Rather, it is a question of looking at the economic, infrastructural and, last but not least, the life-spatial strengths and weaknesses of Lusatia and its sub-areas, and thus finding the first starting points for a meaningful shaping of the structural change in the coming decades. Science can only make suggestions. Ultimately, it is up to the citizens themselves to discuss economic, regional policy or urban and landscape planning proposals, to weigh them up and to develop an idea of the direction in which Lusatia and its sub-areas should change. However, this should be done under realistic assumptions about what the initial situation is and what can be achieved from here. The present study can and should contribute to the necessary information base. The study begins with an overview of the current reports on Lusatia and its structural change (part of the A). This is followed by a broad and, as far as the data allows, a fine-grained overview of the current situation of Lusatia and its sub-areas (part B). This overview is divided into economic structure and value added (Part B.I), labour market (Part B.II), infrastructure and habitat (Part B.III). The following is an analysis of integration and cooperation opportunities in the border triangle (part of the C) and the accessibility of relevant markets from the region and cross-region relations (part of the D). Based on this, the endogenous potentials of Lusatia and its sub-areas are again analyzed as fine-grained as possible (part E). A discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of structural policy in individual other German regions should point to pitfalls and enable learning from successful structural and regional policy approaches (part F). The study concludes with a summary of recommendations for action resulting from the analyses carried out previously and approaches for further research (part of the G).

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Ralf Weigel

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04523 Pegau