Lower Saxony’s new education minister, Julia Willie Hamburg, faces legal trouble because of her position on the VW supervisory board. As the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung” reports, the shareholders’ protectors of the German Protection Association for Securities Ownership (DSW) are examining a lawsuit against the appointment of the Green politician. DSW President Ulrich Hocker told the “NOZ”: “We are currently checking whether we can go to court. I see very good prospects of success for a lawsuit.

Hocker referred to a court decision from the early 1990s. At that time, after a lawsuit by DSW, the Schleswig-Holstein energy minister and self-confessed opponent of nuclear power, Günther Jansen (SPD), had to leave the supervisory board of the “Hamburgische Electricitätswerke” (HEW). The judges of the Hamburg Higher Regional Court recognized an insoluble conflict of interest: If Jansen were to prevail with his demand for the nuclear power plants to be shut down, this would mean serious economic damage for HEW, which drew large parts of its energy from nuclear power.

“I see a similar conflict with Ms. Hamburg and Volkswagen,” DSW President Hocker told NOZ. In such cases, the German Corporate Governance Code drawn up by a government commission stipulates that the supervisory board mandate should not be taken up or resigned. Hocker emphasized: “With all due respect: But how should Ms. Hamburg, as a self-confessed cyclist without the appropriate professional qualifications and without a car, critically accompany the transformation of a global corporation as a member of the supervisory board?” Hamburg says it does not own a car.

According to Economics Minister Olaf Lies, the fact that the post went to the Greens was a result of the government negotiations between the SPD and the Greens. “We agreed in the coalition agreement that the prime minister and the deputy prime minister – and thus both coalition partners – each hold a mandate there. This is how we ensure that the state of Lower Saxony continues to have a strong voice on the supervisory board,” Lies told NOZ.