Ex-German Economy Minister Werner Mueller dies at 73


Former German Economy Minister, Werner Mueller, died on Tuesday at the age of 73, following a serious illness.
His death was made known by the RAG Foundation that he co-founded to finance obligations related to coal mining.
Politicians in Germany and beyond honoured his role in the socially responsible phaseout of coal production in his country.
President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called him a “pioneer who shaped the future of the Ruhr area.’’
The premier of the state of North Rhine Westphalia, Armin Laschet, said that with his RAG Foundation, Mueller is leaving behind a “true achievement of the century.’’
An independent politician, Mueller served as economy minister from 1998 to 2002 in chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s government.
Mueller mastered the rules of the game in both business and politics, he could persuade people and turn rivals into partners, he was a great economic policymaker, Schroeder said .
Schroeder said in a statement, that Mueller’s greatest achievement was securing the approval of German energy providers for the phaseout of nuclear energy.
After leaving office, Mueller in 2003 became chairman of the RAG mining corporation. In this position, he helped shape the end of coal mining in the historically industrial Ruhr area.
Mueller was present when Prosper-Haniel, the last functioning coal mine in the country, was shut down in December 2018 – marking the end of the deep mining of hard coal in Germany.
RAG chairman Peter Schrimpf praised Mueller for his work for German mining and miners, who “were always close to his heart.’’
Mueller’s accomplishments on mining are “invaluable,’’ European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a statement.
Out of the parts of  RAG that did not handle mining, Mueller formed the chemical corporation Evonik and served as its chairman.
The RAG Foundation uses Evonik dividends to finance, among other things, the handling of the durable effects of mining, such as the pumping of pit water.
Mueller had stepped down from his management position at the RAG Foundation last year for health reasons. He leaves behind a wife and two children.


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