NNormally, industry conferences are very diplomatic events. The Federal Minister of Economics warns, packaged in words of praise about the importance in industry, for more innovations. The industry representatives, accompanied by praise for the good cooperation with the government, call for political reforms. However, at this year’s event on Tuesday in Berlin, Robert Habeck left the protocol aside. The Green Vice Chancellor used the stage to get rid of the frustration he had built up over the past few weeks.
“The posture you go onto the pitch with is not good at the moment,” he criticized. “There seems to be a desire to talk about a downfall.” Yes, these are not easy times. The high energy costs, the US subsidy offensive, demographic change. But you also have to look at the positive: the gas storage facilities are still “crammed full” even after 14 cold days, the price brakes have also been set in motion for the industry. “It’s not a performance that fell out of the sky,” said Habeck. The federal government has shown that it can act “quickly and robustly”.
With regard to the planned reforms in immigration law, he said that from an economic point of view he did not understand the fervor with which these proposals were opposed. So that nobody understood this as a broadside against his own coalition partner, Habeck quickly added that he didn’t mean the FDP, “but rather the opposition”. Presenting Germany as an unattractive place to do business – “that’s adventurous, you have to say, and doesn’t help the matter at all.”
“Next year will be dominated by industrial policy”
Habeck used the event, which took place within the framework of the “Alliance for the Future of Industry” agreed between politics and business, to announce a political change of course. In the year that was coming to an end, the focus was on the energy supply. “Next year will be dominated by industrial policy.” According to the plans of the federal government, Germany should be climate-neutral by 2045, independent of fossil fuels. Cars should then mainly run on green electricity, heating systems should also run on green electricity, and industry should produce green hydrogen, manufactured – exactly – with green electricity. It is an ambitious goal in a short time, said Habeck. However, he made it clear that from his point of view there is no alternative.
He also outlined how the transformation should succeed. In short: imitate America. First of all mentally. “A spirit of tackling things, a spirit of wanting to shape things” is needed, according to Habeck, not just the will to adapt. “That’s too passive an attitude.”