The Budget Committee of the Bundestag has approved the 2017 draft budget for the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. It is worth an overall €7.735 billion (2015: €7.395 billion, 2016: €7.621 billion).

By providing investments and funding, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy aims to foster growth, innovation, and employment. The focus is on investment relating to the energy transition, digitisation of small and medium-sized enterprises in particular, and relief for municipal budgets.

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 another 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 Task 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.

Individual policy fields:

Innovation, technology and new mobility

  • Promoting innovation and providing related advice
    The support available for innovative SMEs (approx. €548 million) is chiefly available through the Central SME Innovation Programme (ZIM). At least 40% of this funding is to be allocated to companies in the New Länder.
    The go-Inno advisory programme (only in German) provides SMEs with vouchers for targeted advisory services worth more than €7 million, thereby supporting them as they develop innovative products and processes. Funding totalling approx. €7.5 million has been earmarked to support diversification strategies of defence companies into civil security technologies.
  • Industrial research for companies
    Some €240 million 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. This means that it was possible to clearly increase the amount of funding available compared with previous years.
  • Transfer of technologies and innovation
    Under the TuIT umbrella programme, some €29 million 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
    Of the €110 million available for the field of new mobility, around €65 million is earmarked for the maritime industry, and around €45 million for new transport technologies. In the field of the maritime industry, the existing structure of funding for technology promotion, innovation aid and maritime security was continued, but made even more flexible via an expansion of the possibility to switch funding between the areas. Of the total of €65 million earmarked for the maritime sector, €3 million has been ringfenced for the field of maritime security. The innovation aid for shipyards is being maintained at the 2016 level.
  • Aerospace and the German Aerospace Center (DLR)
    The 2017 budget for promoting research in the aerospace sector – an industry that is particularly high-tech – is around €152 million. Over the next few years, the Federal Government will be providing up to €134 million 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. €1.46 billion is available for space research (including aviation, energy and transport) in 2017. Of this, just under €276 million has been allocated to the National Space Programme. The budget for international cooperation within the European Space Agency (ESA) falls to around €755 million 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. A total of €45 million in additional funding has been allocated to the German Aerospace Center for the establishment of six new institutes in Augsburg, Bremerhaven, Dresden, Hamburg, Jena and Oldenburg, and to continue the Real-time Services in Maritime Security project.
  • Digital Agenda
    Funding under the Digital Agenda is being increased to €173 million. The focus is on the development of digital technologies, with more than €59 million 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 and commitment appropriations worth €800 million 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 (“Mittelstand digital”). The funding for this in 2017 has been boosted significantly, to €42 million. 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 totals €84 million in 2017. Amongst other things, the EXIST funding programme is to foster 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. In 2017, a total of €46 million will be available for this. 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 is available for further projects launched under the 'new age of entrepreneurship' initiative.
  • Closing the skills gap / vocational training
    Some €27 million 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 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, which is to be used for joint initiatives to be organised in cooperation with the Länder and the social partners.
    Another €5 million 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) 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 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 is earmarked in 2017 for promoting investment under the Joint Federal/Länder Task for the Improvement of Regional Economic Structures (GRW). The budgeted amount of €600 million will be topped up with €24 million from an additional investment package. Together with the cofunding from the Länder, it will be possible for approx. €1.25 billion 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.
  • Promotion of entrepreneurial know-how
    In 2017, the government will be providing some €38 million 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 €21 million 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 €10 million 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. €466 million 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 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 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. Once again, the intention is to use additional funding from the Energy and Climate Fund (see below). The spending on scientific support in the field of electricity and grids, and on the operation of the EEG Clearing House, which had previously been included here, has now been allocated a separate budget item.
  • 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 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 €216 million 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 for the rehabilitation of former mines in Saxony and €84 million for contributions to the Occupational Accident Insurance Fund.
  • Energy-efficient retrofitting of buildings
    Some €455 million 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. €84 million). The new programme consists of various export initiatives, trade fair stands, the manager training programme, and Germany’s EITI membership (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative).
  • 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 in the field of foreign trade. The government will supply a total of approx. €70 million in funding for GTAI and the network of bilateral chambers of commerce.
  • Other spending approved:
    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), for Germany’s participation in World Expositions (approx. €7 million), 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. €31 million).

Other spending approved

In addition to expenditure on communicating and evaluating economic policy and technology policy projects, chapter 0910 provides some €51 million 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 €2.7 million for priority projects conducted on behalf of the Federal Government Commissioner (in German) for the New Federal States. Once again, €5 million 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 €2.8 billion 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 has been earmarked for energy research in the fields of energy efficiency and renewable energy; approx. €463 million is intended for the Energy Efficiency Fund, and approx. €66.5 million for electric mobility. Under the market incentive programme for renewables (MAP), more than €87 million will be available for promoting the use of renewable energy in the heat market.

€2 billion has been earmarked to be approved as funding for energy-efficient retrofits of buildings. €346 million is available to fund the optimisation of pumps and heating, €165 million for the Energy Efficiency Incentive Programme, and a further €100 million to promote energy efficiency measures via a competition (STEP up!). In addition to these measures, a total of €300 million 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 is available for international energy cooperation, raw materials partnerships and cooperation on technology; there is a further €4.5 million to promote cooperation with other countries in the context of the EU Directive on renewable energy. A further €4 million is allocated to funding measures for structural adjustment in lignite mining regions. For the first time, funding (approx. €105 million) is earmarked for 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 as the federal contribution towards the promotion of the purchase of electric vehicles.