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Greens Block Railway Privatization Plans

Germany's junior coalition partners, the Greens, are blocking plans to partially privatise the state-owned rail operator, Deutsche Bahn. Greens transport expert Albert Schmidt told the head of Deutsche Bahn, Hartmut Mehdorn, that the company should wait until 2007 to go public. Mehdorn had predicted that the rail operator could be publicly traded starting in 2005. In his position paper, Schmidt said that while the privatization plans make sense, the company's figures should be firmly in the black for at least three years before it is listed on the stock exchange. Deutsche Bahn, one of Germany's biggest employers, remained in the red for the second year in a row last year with a net loss of €468 million ($544 million).