The Federal Cabinet has approved the 2017 draft budget for the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. It is to be worth an overall 7.432 billion euros (2015: 7.395 billion euros, 2016: 7.621 billion euros).

By providing investments and funding, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy aims to foster growth, innovation, and employment. Many of the funding measures are designed to strengthen SMEs in particular, especially via the promotion of research, development and innovation. The implementation of the energy transition is a particular focus, and especially the measures contained in the National Action Plan on Energy Efficiency and the additional climate change mitigation package to cut 5.5 million tonnes of CO2.

An allocation of additional funding from the Federal Government's investment package has made it possible to bring up the amount of funding for the Joint Federal/Länder Scheme for the Improvement of Regional Economic Structures (GRW) to the level envisaged in the coalition agreement. The draft budget has enabled us to set new funding priorities.

The individual policy areas:

Innovation, technology and new mobility

  • Promoting innovation and providing related advice
    The support available for innovative SMEs (approx. 548 million euros) is chiefly available through the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM). At least 40% of this funding is to be allocated to companies in the New Länder. The go-Inno advisory programme provides SMEs with vouchers for targeted advisory services worth more than 7 million euros, thereby supporting them as they develop innovative products and processes. Funding totalling approx. 9 million euros has been earmarked to support diversification strategies of defence companies into civil security technologies.
  • Industrial research for companies
    Some 210 million euros has been set aside to fund industrial research by companies. This funding will be used to support pre-competitive research work that offers high potential for implementation, and to fund projects conducted by external, not-for-profit research establishments in the New Länder which do not receive public institutional funding.
  • Transfer of technologies and innovation
    Under the TuIT umbrella programme, some 29 million euros is available to support the transfer of technology and innovation. This includes funding to safeguard and harness intellectual property and to advance standardisation.
  • New mobility
    Out of 104 million euros set aside for the maritime industry and for transport technologies, approx. 98 million euros will be used for maritime technologies (53 million euros) and new vehicle and system technologies (45 million euros). In the field of the maritime industry, the previously separate items for technology promotion, innovation aid and maritime security have been packaged together. Of the total of 53 million euros earmarked for maritime technologies, 6 million euros has been ringfenced for the field of maritime security.
  • Aerospace and the German Aerospace Center (DLR)
    The 2017 budget for promoting research in the aerospace sector - an industry that is particularly high-tech - will be around 152 million euros. Over the next few years, the Federal Government will be providing up to 134 million euros in funding for new approvals of research projects, in order to create an internationally competitive research environment for civil aviation, and to safeguard highly-skilled jobs in Germany. Including the institutional funding for the German Aerospace Center (DLR), approx. 1.42 billion euros is available for space research (including aviation, energy and transport) in 2017. Of this, just under 276 million euros has been allocated to the National Space Programme. The budget for international cooperation within the European Space Agency (ESA) falls to around 755 million euros in 2017. This is due to the German share of the Ariane 6 launcher development. As planned, the development costs will be lower in 2017 than in 2016. By providing this funding, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is promoting advances in space technology, and is making a major contribution towards ensuring that the European and German space industries remain competitive.
  • Digital Agenda
    Funding under the Digital Agenda is being increased to 174 million euros. The focus is on the development of digital technologies, with more than 59 million euros allocated to them. In addition to this, initial funding is earmarked for a European microelectronics programme to boost the ability to innovate and the competitiveness of European industry, with spending of 50 million euros and commitment appropriations worth 800 million euros in 2017. Further key objectives include promoting a widespread take-up of state-of-the-art ICT technologies in SMEs and the skilled crafts sector. The funding for this in 2017 has been boosted significantly, to 48 million euros. There is also an increase in the field "Potential of the digital economy" which includes measures to boost IT security in SMEs.

SMEs: start-up, grow, invest

  • The 'new age for entrepreneurship' initiative
    Overall funding for innovative start-ups will total 84 million euros in 2017. Amongst other things, the EXIST funding programme is to establish a culture of entrepreneurship at universities and research establishments and to increase the number of spin-offs from scientific institutions. The INVEST grant for business angels aims to strengthen the market for venture capital in Germany. This year, a total of 46 million euros will be available under the programme. In addition to this, funding for technology-driven start-ups will again be available from the High-tech Start-up Fund, which, since 2013, has been entirely financed by the ERP Special Fund. 5.5 million euros is available for further projects launched under the 'new age of entrepreneurship' initiative.
  • Closing the skills gap / vocational training and continuing education
    Some 27 million euros of the 2017 budget has been set aside to ensure a secure supply of skilled labour. The campaign to attract qualified professionals from abroad, which was launched in 2012 as part of the efforts of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Economic Affairs Ministry and the Federal Employment Agency to recruit skilled workers from abroad, is being continued in 2017 and is to receive 4.5 million euros worth of funding. The ministry's contribution to the alliance for vocational training and continuing education (running from 2015-2018) is worth some 6.5 million euros, which is to be used for joint initiatives to be organised in cooperation with the Länder and the social partners. Another 5 million euros has been dedicated in 2017 to the development of social skills as part of vocational training courses. The teaching of social skills is to raise the probability that trainees will complete their courses and get a job, as well as to feed into the interministerial strategy to promote democracy and prevent extremism.
    The vocational training programme (approx. 45 million euros) supports courses in the skilled crafts sector outside companies providing the training, and helps to establish, modernise and equip such training centres for trade and industry. Further to this, an additional 8 million euros a year is available from the investment package for each of the financial years of 2016, 2017 and 2018.
  • Promoting the regional economy
    A total of 624 million euros has been earmarked for promoting investment under the Joint Federal/Länder Scheme for the Improvement of Regional Economic Structures (GRW). The budgeted amount of 600 million euros will be topped up with 24 million euros from an additional investment package. Together with the cofunding from the Länder, it will be possible for approx. 1.25 billion euros' worth of funding to be mobilised for new investment projects by trade and industry and for measures to improve local commerce-related infrastructure in regions that are structurally weak.
  • Promoting business skills and expertise
    In 2017, the government will be providing some 38 million euros to promote business skills and expertise among German SMEs in particular. This will be done through a scheme that uses various measures to encourage small and medium-sized companies to consult with external business specialists at an early stage and on any and every aspect of management.
  • Potential in the services market
    Some 16 million euros of the 2017 budget has been earmarked to support and develop up-and-coming lead markets in the services sector and to harness the potential of the cultural and creative sectors, the healthcare industry, tourism and others. This includes a new 10-million-euro programme to promote the film industry, which is to boost Germany's competitiveness and capacity for innovation as a production location for films. Particular attention will be given to using modern German technology.

Energy and sustainability

  • Research and development projects The 2017 budget will provide approx. 430 million euros for the implementation of the 6th Energy Research Programme, which supports research and development in the fields of energy efficiency, renewable energies, and nuclear safety.
  • Improving energy efficiency
    Around 41 million euros will be available in 2017 for measures to boost energy efficiency, and particularly for independent energy audits for SMEs and private households. Additional funding to implement the National Action Plan on Energy Efficiency (NAPE) will be provided from the Energy and Climate Fund and the energy efficiency package.
  • Individual measures promoting the use of renewable energy
    In 2017, a total of approx. 230 million euros will be available for the market incentive programme (MAP) for renewable energy installations, particularly those designed for the heating market, and for harnessing electricity from geothermal energy and biomass, and for the running of the EEG Clearing Unit. Once again, the intention is to use additional funding from the Energy and Climate Fund (see below). The reduced amount is due to the assignment of a separate budget item for spending on scientific support, which had previously been included here.
  • Phasing out subsidies for hard coal / rehabilitating mines (Wismut GmbH)
    Based on the agreement to phase out subsidies for hard coal mining, a total of approx. 1.162 billion euros has been made available for hard coal mining and for the re-adaptation benefits paid out to older employees leaving the industry.
    In the 2017 budget, funding of 136 million euros has been allocated for the ongoing rehabilitation and revegetation of the former uranium mining sites in Saxony and Thuringia by Wismut GmbH, including 8 million euros for the rehabilitation of former mines in Saxony.
  • Energy-efficient retrofitting of buildings
    Some 338 million euros has been earmarked for energy-efficient construction and the retrofitting of buildings under the KfW’s CO2 Building Modernisation programme. The projects in question were approved in the period up to 2011. The programme is a key element of the energy transition and a vital instrument for the Federal Government as it works towards its energy and climate targets for buildings. All funding for projects approved under this programme after 2011 has been financed exclusively by the Energy and Climate Fund (see below).

Opportunities afforded by globalisation

  • Breaking into markets abroad
    The various schemes designed for export promotion have been packaged together to create the 'Programme to develop foreign markets' (approx. 82 million euros). The new programme covers various export initiatives, trade fair stands, the manager training programme, and Germany's EITI (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative) membership.
  • Services provided by GTAI
    Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI), the German state-owned enterprise tasked with promoting foreign trade and inward investment, also has an important role to play. The government will supply a total of approx. 69 million euros in funding for GTAI and the network of bilateral chambers of commerce.
  • Miscellaneous
    Further to this, funding from this chapter will also be made available to the long-term, large-scale project entitled 'Construction of an urban railway in Ho Chi Minh City' (5 million euros), for Germany's participation in World Expositions (approx. 7 million euros), the country's membership in international organisations based outside Germany (including the WTO, ITU and OECD), and the institutional support granted to the German National Tourist Board (DZT; approx. 30 million euros). One million euros has been earmarked to support the economic reform process that is taking place in the Arab countries in transition (transformation partnerships).

Other spending approved

In addition to expenditure on communicating and evaluating economic policy and technology policy projects, chapter 0910 provides some 51 million euros for research and for the Federal Government's contribution to the budgets of the 8 institutions that are members of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz Scientific Association and for which the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has been designated as the responsible government agency, and 3.7 million euros for priority projects conducted on behalf of the Federal Government Commissioner for the Affairs of the New Federal States. Once again, 5 million euros is allocated for the Alliance for the "Future of Industry".

Energy and Climate Fund

In addition to the funding provided by the ministry, there will be a total of 2.9 billion euros worth of funding from the Energy and Climate Fund in 2017, making this fund the central financial instrument for the implementation of the energy reforms. Nearly 110 million euros has been earmarked for energy research in the fields of energy efficiency and renewable energy; approx. 462 million euros is intended for the Energy Efficiency Fund, and approx. 66.5 million euros for electric mobility. Under the market incentive programme for renewables (MAP), more than 87 million euros will be available for promoting the use of renewable energy in the heat market. Two billion euros has been earmarked to be approved as funding for energy-efficient retrofits of buildings. In addition to these measures, a total of 300 million euros in grants will be available in 2017 for electricity-intensive companies to allow them to offset increases in electricity prices due to emissions trading (compensation for electricity prices). Roughly 17.5 million euros is available for international energy cooperation, raw materials partnerships and cooperation on technology; there is a further 4.5 million euros to promote cooperation with other countries in the context of the EU Directive on renewable energy. For the first time, funding (approx. 104 million euros) is earmarked spending on measures to implement the energy transition in the field of electricity and the grids. This includes money for some measures that have already been launched and which are now packaged together in this funding item. Also, the 2017 budget allocates 192 million euros as the federal contribution towards the promotion of the purchase of electric vehicles.