"targeted investment, forward-looking energy reforms, fiscal responsibility"
The Federal Cabinet has now approved the 2015 draft budget for the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. It is to be worth an overall 7.125 billion euros (2013: 6.119 billion euros, 2014: 7.418 billion euros).
By providing investments and funding, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy fosters growth, innovation, and employment and helps Germany become even more attractive as a base for business. Many of the measures are designed to strengthen the position of SMEs. Key policies that the ministry is actively involved in include the implementation of the - the Federal Government's number-one project for this parliament - and using R&D investment to generate growth. The 2015 budget for the Joint Federal/Länder Scheme for the Improvement of Regional Economic Structures will be higher than the figure for 2014. From 2016 onwards, the Coalition Agreement provides for further increases as needed. The Scheme for the Improvement of Regional Economic Structures has proved very effective an instrument of regional policy, which mainly benefits the Eastern part of Germany (up to 80%).
Planned expenditure in the 2015 budget of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy
All gures in 1,000 euros
Go to individual policy areas:
Innovation, technology and new mobility
- Promoting innovation and providing advice on investments
The forms the heart of the support available for innovative SMEs. The programme will be among those benefiting from the increase in funding for non-university research set out in the Coalition Agreement: its budget is to grow by 30 million euros to some 543 million euros, of which at least 40% is to be allocated to the Eastern part of Germany (the New Länder).
The go-Inno advisory programme provides SMEs with vouchers for targeted advisory services worth a combined 9 million euros, thereby supporting them as they develop innovative products and processes and bring down the cost of the commodities and materials they use.
- Research infrastructure
Some 200 million euros has been set aside to fund the research infrastructure available to SMEs. This funding will be used to support pre-competitive research work that offers high potential for implementation, and also supports projects conducted by non-profit-making external research establishments in the east of Germany which do not receive any basic state funding.
- Transfer of technologies and innovation
Under the TuIT umbrella programme, some 27 million euros is available to support the transfer of technology and innovation. This includes funding for the and for advancing standardisation.
- New mobility
Some 108 million euros will be made available to support R&D work in the areas of maritime technology (32 million euros) and transport technologies (56 million euros).
- Aerospace and the German Aerospace Center (DLR)
The 2015 budget for promoting research in the technology-driven aerospace sector will be around 154 million euros. Over the next few years, the Federal Government will be providing up to 180 million euros in funding for research approved this year under the Fifth Aviation Research Programme, in order to create a research environment for civil aviation that is internationally competitive, and to safeguard highly-skilled jobs in Germany.
The space sector is to receive some 1.26 billion euros in 2015, including the basic funding for the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the support for research into aviation, energy, and transport. Some 273 million has been allocated to the national space programme. The budget for international co-operation within ESA, the European Space Agency, has been stabilised at nearly 627 million euros, which is quite a high level.
- Information and communication technology
The budget estimate for information and communication technology in 2015 is around 73 million euros, with a clear priority on the development of new ICT applications and services based on convergence. With a total budget of close to 48 million euros - representing an increase of 6 million - this is another area that will benefit from the increase in funding for non-university research. Further key objectives include promoting a widespread take-up of state-of-the-art ICT applications in SMEs and the crafts sector, and supporting the 'Digital Economy', which first received its own budget appropriation in 2014 and prioritises IT security.
SMEs: start-up, grow, invest
- Germany: a nation of entrepreneurs
A total of 67 million euros has been earmarked 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 institutions.
A total of 23 million euros has been allocated to support the INVEST scheme, which encourages business angels to provide venture capital in Germany.
In addition to this, funding for technology-driven start-ups will also be made available by the High-tech Start-up Fund, which, since 2013, has been entirely financed by the ERP Special Fund. Over the 2014 to 2016 period, the ministry will merely provide an annual 5 million euros in fixed allocations to the ERP. A further 5 million euros is available for other projects that are part of the "Germany - a nation of entrepreneurs" campaign.
- Closing the skills gap / vocational training and continuing education
Some 19.5 million euros of the 2015 budget have 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 to continue in 2015 and to receive 8 million euros worth of funding. The ministry's contribution to the alliance for vocational training and continuing education (working title) is worth some 6.5 million euros, which is to be used for joint initiatives to be organised in co-operation with the Länder and the social partners.
The vocational training programme (funding totalling approx. 74 million euros) supports cross-company courses in the crafts sector, and helps to establish, modernise, and equip cross-company training centres for trade and industry.
- Promoting the regional economy
A sum of approx. 600 million euros will be available in 2015 to promote investment under the "Improving Regional Economic Structures" scheme that is run jointly by the Federation and the Länder. Together with the co-funding provided by the Länder, a total of 1.2 billion euros will be available for structurally-weak regions, to be used to support new investment projects by trade and industry and measures that seek to improve local commerce-related infrastructures.
- Promoting business skills and expertise
In 2015, the government will be providing some 37 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 external business specialists at an early stage and on any and every aspect of management.
- Potential in the services market
Some 5.73 million euros of the 2015 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, e-health, and others.
Energy and sustainability
- Research and development projects
The 2015 budget provides approx. 324 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. This is yet another area that will benefit from the increase in funding for non-university research.
- Improving energy efficiency
Some 30 million euros will again be available for measures that seek to improve energy efficiency - first and foremost for independent energy consultancy services for SMEs and private households.
- Individual measures promoting the use of renewable energy
In 2015, a total of approx. 255 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.
- 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 1.200 billion euros has been made available for hard coal mining and for the re-adaptation benefits paid out to older employees leaving the industry. The German Hard Coal Corporation (RAG) is expected to increase its revenues from the sale of German hard coal, because of high world market prices. This is expected to lower the need for subsidies for hard coal by 200 million in 2015 and by 50 million in 2016, compared to the respective financial ceilings set out in the Hard Coal Funding Act. These measures are without prejudice to the Agreement of Coal of 7 February 2007.
Funding of 127 million euros has been allocated for the ongoing rehabilitation and recultivation of the former uranium mining sites in Saxony and Thuringia by Wismut GmbH in 2015, including 8 million euros for the rehabilitation of former mines in Saxony.
- Energy-efficient retrofitting of buildings
Some 568 million euros has been earmarked for energy-efficient construction and the retrofitting of buildings under the KfW "CO2 Buildings Rehabilitation Programme". The projects in question were approved in the period up to 2011. The rehabilitation programme is a key element of our energy reforms 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 later than in 2011 will be financed exclusively by the Energy and Climate Fund (see below).
Opportunities afforded by globalisation
- Breaking into markets abroad
The various export promotion measures have been packaged together to create the "Programme to develop foreign markets" (approx. 82 million euros). 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 government agency tasked with promoting foreign trade and inward investment, also has an important role to play. The government will supply a total of approx. 60 million euros in funding for GTAI and the network of bilateral chambers of commerce.
Further to this, this chapter of the ministry's budget also provides funding for the long-term, large-scale project entitled "Construction of an urban railway in Ho Chi Minh City" (5 million euros), Germany's participation in World Expositions (20 million euros), the country's membership in international organisations based outside Germany (including WTO, ITU and OECD), and the institutional support granted to the German National Tourist Board (DZT; 28 million euros). A further 1 million euros has been earmarked to support the economic reform process that is taking place in Egypt and Tunisia (transformation partnerships).
Other spending approved
In addition to expenditure on communicating and evaluating economic policy and technology policy projects, chapter 0910 provides some 50 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 1.5 million euros for pilot and research projects conducted on behalf of the Federal Government Commissioner for the Affairs of the New Federal States.
Energy and Climate Fund
In addition to the funding provided by the ministry, there will be a total of 1.311 billion euros worth of funding from the Energy and Climate Fund, making this fund the central financial instrument for the implementation of the energy reforms. Of this funding, just below 59 million euros will be available for research into energy efficiency, 140 million euros for the Energy Efficiency Fund, 67 million euros for , and 5.4 million euros for international energy and raw materials partnerships. In addition to these measures, a total of 203 million euros in grants will be available to energy-intensive companies in 2015 to offset increases in electricity prices due to emissions trading (compensation for electricity prices). Furthermore, just under 674 million euros has been earmarked to improve the energy performance of the building stock. Finally, the government's 2015 economic plan includes a commitment to spend nearly 58 million euros on research and development in the field of renewables, more than 101 million euros on the market incentive programme for renewables (MAP), and approx. 3.9 million euros on fostering co-operation with other countries in the context of the EU Renewable Energies Directive.