German Federal Minister of Economics calls for the subsidy watering can
German Federal Minister of Economics calls for the subsidy watering can

25 October 2023 – The new strategy paper on the “Industriepolitik in der Zeitenwende” (industrial policy of the turn of the times) from the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection shows once again who Robert Habeck’s employer really is. While large corporations can hope for support from Habeck, German SMEs are deliberately left to fend for themselves on many points on flimsy grounds.

German Federal Minister of Economics calls for the subsidy watering can

That the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection under Robert Habeck played a major role in many wrong decisions concerning the German economy should be beyond question. The Federal Minister, who wanted to make political decisions more clearly understandable, had caused much confusion and criticism in Germany, but also internationally, with various misleading legislative initiatives – e.g. the Renewable Heating and the Building Energy Act (GEG).

Ministry works past the interests of small and medium-sized businesses 

In addition, Habeck and his ministry (BMWK) are heavily criticised for completely bypassing the needs of Germany’s small and medium-sized businesses and for exclusively bending over and opening their pockets for large corporations. The most prominent example is the 2 billion euro direct reduction plant for thyssenkrupp, which will probably never become CO2 neutral in view of the availability of green hydrogen. Or the possible energy price brake, which so far only favours large companies and corporations, but again threatens to exclude craft and medium-sized enterprises.

Subsidy watering can for large corporations like thyssenkrupp

Now Robert Habeck wants to fix what he and his ministry have screwed up in the last 1.5 years. And he wants to do it with a subsidy watering can and again against the ideas of his coalition partners. According to current media reports, he wants to spend a lot of money to secure German industry.

Especially those industries that actually no longer have an energy policy future in Germany and Europe. Such as the production of cement, glass, paper and steel. For this, the debt brake is to be dropped, which according to the strategy paper of the BMWK dates from another era.

German SMEs should be allowed to look after themselves? 

To this end, Habeck wants to reduce bureaucracy and set up support programmes for companies that invest in green technology. According to the BMWK paper, small and medium-sized enterprises in particular should be able to benefit from this. However, he also gives small and medium-sized enterprises the middle finger with regard to an Engeriepreis brake.  

While the BMWK writes with regard to the reduction of bureaucracy: “This is a particular burden for small and medium-sized enterprises and SMEs, which cannot maintain their own departments to deal with the bureaucratic hurdles,” it also points out that SMEs have to look after themselves when it comes to energy. And in the very next paragraph it tells that the situation is of course quite different for energy-intensive industry in international competition.

Bureaucracy reduction is not that, Mr Habeck

Mr. Habeck should study the EU CO2 border adjustment mechanism CBAM, cited several times in the paper, with regard to “small and medium-sized enterprises and SMEs, a particular burden, which cannot maintain their own departments to work through the bureaucratic hurdles”.

While at the same time the EU ETS system again favours the big industries and creates unequal competition, in which e.g. the CO2 intensive ferro alloys have simply not been included for almost two decades, but now in return have to be taken into account in the CBAM declaration for steel and ferrous semi-finished products. And where the EC itself had determined that the CBAM version now selected would lead to an undue burden for small and medium-sized enterprises. 

BMWK only acts on behalf of large corporations 

These few points alone make it clear whose brainchild the BMWK’s new strategy paper is and which interest groups have harnessed the allegedly green minister to their cart.

Thorsten Gerber, CEO of the Gerber Group, said today: “What Mr. Habeck is now supposedly trying to build up at the front, he immediately tears down at the back with his fatuousness. The entrepreneur added: “Mr. Habeck, do you seriously think you can get a grip on the German economy after you can’t get a grip on your own ministry – or should I say clan? Thank God only 13% of German voters are still blinded by your and your comrades’ machinations.”

To be continued…

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