"Opportunities, growth, progress - actively shaping the future"
Following the adoption of the 2013 federal budget by the German Bundestag, the Economics Ministry's budget amounts to a total of approx. €6.119bn (2012: €6.108bn). The Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (now: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy) is thus playing its part in the efforts to consolidate the public-sector budgets whilst targeting investment at growth and innovation.
One of the Economics Ministry's political priorities is the programme of energy reforms ("Energiewende"), which is a major Federal Government project. Spending on research and development is being continued at a high level. An investment grant for venture capital is being introduced as a new instrument in order to permanently improve the financing available for young, innovative companies. €150m has been allocated for this in the coming four years. The budget estimate for the Joint Scheme "Improving the regional economic structure", which is a tried and tested instrument of regional policy, will be increased in the coming year by around €583bn compared to the government's draft budget.
Structure of the ministry's budget
2013 will see another change in the structure of the ministry's budget. The ministry is participating in the pilot procedure of the Federal Ministry of Finance which aims at a depiction of the budget which is more transparent and more clearly based on the political priorities.
There are a few changes in the programme budget compared with 2012. The existing Chapter 0905 (Innovation, Technology and New Mobility) now comes at the beginning of the budget and is designated Chapter 0901. Chapter 0911 is new. This Chapter centralises the estimates for administrative expenditure incurred both by the ministry and its agencies, along with the pension payments, which were previously covered by Chapter 0967. The ministry's budget and the budgets of the agencies are now contained in Chapters 0912 to 0918.
The structure of the 2012 budget thus underlines the approach taken by the ministry to reorient and streamline the subsidies it provides. The new structure ensures that the ministry's budget is uniform and transparent and makes political sense.
The strategic orientation of the subsidies provided by the ministry will continue to be regularly reviewed and adapted to changing conditions. To this end, a steering group has been set up to continuously review and align the political objectives pursued by the subsidies. The findings of the ministry's internal subsidies audit procedure will also feed into this work.
Individual policy fields:
Innovation, technology and new mobility
- Support for and advice on innovation
The Central SME Innovation Programme (ZIM) forms the heart of the support available for innovative SMEs. The programme has again been expanded, to more than €500m. 40% of this funding is to go to the eastern part of Germany.
The go-Inno advisory programme provides more than €14m in the form of vouchers for special advisory sessions to support SMEs as they innovate their products and processes and as they reduce costs for raw materials and other materials.
- Research infrastructure
Almost €200m is available to support the research infrastructure for SMEs. This funding helps pre-competitive research work with a high potential for implementation, and also supports projects of non-profit-making external research establishments in the east of Germany which do not receive any basic state funding.
- Technology and innovation transfer
Under the TuIT brand, almost €30m is available to support the transfer of technology and innovation. This includes the SIGNO patent initiative and the promotion of standardisation.
- New mobility
The R&D-based programmes are being continued in the fields of the maritime industry and transport technologies; total funding of approx. €107m is allocated for this, and over €58 of this amount is earmarked for transport technologies.
- Aerospace DLR
A total of approx. €156m is allocated to promote research in the technology-intensive aviation industry in 2013. The Federal Government is providing up to €170m in the next few years for funding in the context of the fifth Aviation Research Programme, in order to ensure an internationally research environment and to make a contribution towards safeguarding highly-skilled jobs in Germany.
Funding totalling €6m has been earmarked to cover risks of default in the provision of interest-bearing, sales-related reimbursable loans towards development costs in the civil aviation equipment industry. In accord with international obligations, the German aviation industry including EADS/Airbus/ECD are to continue receiving the German share of funding for programmes to develop new aircraft.
Including the basic funding of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), more than €1.24bn is available for space research (including aviation, energy and transport research) in 2013. €272m is allocated for the national space programme in 2013 (2012: €270m). The funding for international co-operation in the context of ESA, the European Space Agency, has been increased further for 2013 (€639m compared with €619m in 2012).
- Information and communication technology
The budget estimate for information and communication technology in 2013 is approx. €72m. The priority is on the development of new ICT applications and services based on convergence, and on the introduction and dissemination of modern ICT applications in SMEs and the craft sector. Here, the issue of IT security is a particular focus.
The SME sector: founding, growing, investing
- Germany: a nation of entrepreneurs
A total of €83m is being used to fund innovative start-ups. The EXIST funding programme aims to establish a culture of entrepreneurship at universities and research establishments and to increase the number of spin-offs from scientific establishments.
The new investment allowance for business angels aims to strengthen the venture capital market in Germany. A total of €150m will be available for this up to 2016.
In addition, the High-Tech Start-Up Fund, which is to be funded from 2013 from the ERP special fund, will continue to provide funding for technology-based start-ups; the ministry's budget will only provide fixed allocations to the ERP totalling €65m for the 2013-2106 period. €5m is available for further projects of the "Germany - a nation of entrepreneurs" campaign.
- Skilled labour/vocational training
Approx. €13m is available in 2013 to help meet the demand for 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 Economics Ministry and the Federal Employment Agency to recruit skilled workers from abroad, is being continued in 2013 with funding of €4m.
The vocational training programme (funding totalling approx. €74m) supports courses in the crafts sector outside the companies providing the training, and helps to establish, modernise and equip training centres for trade and industry.
- Regional economic promotion
A total of approx. €583m is available in 2013 to promote investment in the context of the Joint Scheme "Improving the Regional Economic Structure". Together with the co-funding from the Länder, funding for new investment projects by trade and industry and measures to improve local commerce-related infrastructure worth approx. €1.2bn in structurally weak regions can be mobilised.
- Promotion of business skills
Approx. €40m is available for the newly packaged programme "Promotion of business skills". It consists of various measures to support small and medium-sized enterprises in the early use of external, qualified expertise on all questions of business management.
- Potential in the services sector
This budget item covers current priorities like the cultural and creative industry, the healthcare industry and the tourism industry. Just under €8m is available for this in 2013.
Energy and sustainability
- Energy research
Approx. €150m is to be provided for the promotion of energy research and thus to implement the Federal Government's sixth energy research programme.
- Boosting energy efficiency
Around €30m is again available for measures to boost energy efficiency, and particularly for independent energy advice for SMEs and private households.
- Expiry of the hard coal subsidies/rehabilitation of Wismut
Funding totalling approx. €1.229bn (2012: €1.312bn) is earmarked for hard coal mining in the context of the closing down of subsidised hard coal mining in a socially acceptable manner including re-adaptation benefits for older employees leaving the industry. Increased revenues due to ongoing high world market prices for hard coal mean that the budget requirement for hard coal subsidies in 2013 is more than €250m lower than the financial ceiling stipulated in the Hard Coal Financing Act. This does not mean that the Agreement on Coal of 7 February 2007 is being terminated.
Funding of €148m is allocated for the ongoing rehabilitation and recultivation of the former uranium mining sites in Saxony and Thuringia by Wismut GmbH in 2013 (increase compared with 2012 is mainly due to the allocation of additional funding for the rehabilitation of former sites in Saxony).
Opportunities due to globalisation
- Development of markets abroad
The various export promotion measures have been packaged in a single "Programme to develop foreign markets" (€81m). The new programme consists of various export initiatives, trade fair stands, and the manager training programme.
- GTAI services
Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI), the Federal-owned company to promote trade and investment in and out of Germany, also plays an important role. Approx. €57m has been earmarked for the network of bilateral chambers of commerce.
- Other expenditure
Further to this, this Chapter of the ministry's budget also finances the long-term large-scale projects "G8 partnership with Russia to dismantle decommissioned nuclear submarines from Russia's Northern Fleet" (€65m) and "Construction of an urban railway in Ho Chi Minh City" (€30m), Germany's participation in World Expositions (€9m) and the institutional support for the German National Tourist Board (DZT, €28.3m).
When the budget is implemented in 2013, a global spending cut of €75m is to be achieved for Departmental Budget 09.
Energy and Climate Fund
The Economics Ministry's promotional funding is being supplemented by around €421.5m from the Energy and Climate Fund. Approx. €57m is available for energy efficiency research, approx. €227m for the Energy Efficiency Fund, approx. €129.5m for electric mobility, and €8m for international energy and raw materials partnerships. The grants to energy-intensive companies to offset increases in the electricity price due to emissions trading (electricity price compensation) for 2013 will be provided retrospectively in 2014.
The Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing engages in research and development in the interest of safe technology and chemicals.It undertakes physical and chemical testing of substances and facilities, and provides reference procedures and materials. It also works on the development of statutory rules, e.g. the stipulation of safety standards and thresholds, and advises the Federal Government, the business sector and national and international organisations about technology and chemicals.
The National Metrology Institute (PTB) undertakes scientific and technical services. Its core competence is metrology, and its measurements are extremely precise and reliable. It thus stands for progress and reliability in measurement technology in general.