NAfter the ailing energy company Uniper applied for state aid, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) pledged his support in Munich. “We made a political decision that we will help Uniper,” he said. The company, its employees and the population could rely on the federal government. The Chancellor did not comment on the details of possible state aid: “We will discuss the specific path with the company.”
Scholz thus met a demand from industry and trade to ensure the most stable gas supply possible. Nevertheless, the German economy is worried about its international competitiveness. “The past and current crises have ruthlessly exposed the weaknesses and the need to catch up in Germany and Europe,” said a joint statement by the four major business associations at the meeting with Chancellor Scholz at the Munich Crafts Fair. Competitiveness and innovative strength must be strengthened, resilience increased, independence in supply chains and energy supply ensured. “Securing a stable gas supply is currently a top priority,” emphasized the industry association BDI, the employers’ associations (BDA), the Association of Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) and the Central Association of German Crafts and Trades (ZDH).
Energy security was just one of several demands made by the host trades president, Hans Peter Wollseifer, and his colleagues Siegfried Russwurm (BDI), Rainer Dulga (BDA) and Peter Adrian (DIHK). The four of them pushed for the planning and approval processes for infrastructure, buildings and technical systems to be drastically reduced to just a few months. The previous procedures lasted several years or even decades. “Ambitious goals of climate protection or digitization remain unattainable,” it said. In addition, the shortage of workers and skilled workers has become a brake on growth.
It was the usual ritual at the International Crafts Fair in Munich. At top-level talks with the Federal Chancellor, the German economy regularly addresses its demands in a concise tone. Then, after a public photo session and a good hour-long discussion behind closed doors, the presidents of the four leading associations appear in front of the press in the Munich exhibition hall with their interlocutor. For more than ten years, Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke at the trade fair about economic, social and educational policy issues. Because of the corona pandemic, the top-level talks in Munich were canceled in 2020 and 2021. For Merkel’s successor, Scholz, it was the first meeting with representatives of medium-sized industrial companies and trades at the Munich trade fair.
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