German environment minister Jürgen Trittin left office on Tuesday after holding the post for seven years and putting a large personal stamp on national and even EU environmental policy making. Mr Trittin is succeeded by Social Democrat Sigmar Gabriel under a new coalition of the main centre-left and centre-right parties led by Angela Merkel (EED 09/11/05).
Mr Trittin's largest accomplishments were during the SPD/Green coalition's first term in office between 1998 and 2002. During this period, the government launched an energy tax programme, forced nuclear electricity generators to agree to phase out their reactors and introduced generous feed-in subsidies for renewable energy producers.
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