Federal Minister Peter Altmaier (left), BDI president Dieter Kempf (top on the right), HDE president Josef Sanktjohanser (centre on the right) and DIHK-president Eric Schweitzer (down on the right).

Federal Minister Peter Altmaier (left), BDI president Dieter Kempf (top on the right), HDE president Josef Sanktjohanser (centre on the right) and DIHK-president Eric Schweitzer (down on the right).

© BMWi

Economic Affairs Minister Peter Altmaier discussed the current economic situation of companies and sectors with representatives from 29 business associations in a video conference today. In addition to the Presidents of the umbrella associations, attendees of the video conference also included the Presidents of the associations representing SMEs, family-run businesses and the liberal professions and of the associations of the sectors that are particularly badly hit by the coronavirus crisis, i.e. trade, logistics, the hospitality industry and the tourism sector.

The talks focussed on the support measures to safeguard the liquidity of enterprises and the measures that were adopted by the Minister-Presidents of the Länder last Wednesday to relax restrictions on public life. Economic Affairs Minister Altmaier and the associations agreed to keep in close contact as business activities gradually start up again.

Economic Affairs Minister Altmaier said:

“We now need to talk with business representatives about measures to further relax the restrictions - as soon as this is compatible with health policy. In this context, I want to emphasize that it is not about playing off the economy against health protection, but about adapting the protective measures to the situation and developing them in line with the needs of the economy. We also need to talk with the associations about a fitness regime that comprises not only immediate measures, but also measures to structurally enhance competitiveness.”

Dr Eric Schweitzer, President of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), said:

“We now need to elaborate a realistic roadmap to return to normality. For this purpose, government and business representatives must work together. I expressly want to underline that I am aware of policymakers’ great efforts to take the right steps. But we must now quickly adopt concrete measures. Even though we may not be able to specify dates for everything and everyone, our enterprises need a roadmap out of the crisis. They need this not only for themselves, but also for their suppliers, customers and financing partners.”

Prof. Dieter Kempf, President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), said:

“The economic re-entry of an industrial country like Germany must be planned precisely. Another shutdown would have unforeseeable consequences for our country. German industry welcomes the initiative taken by the Economic Affairs Minister to engage in dialogue with the business community. The Federal Government should start to give greater consideration to the medium-term and long-term impact. An overall recovery that reaches the pre-crisis level of economic activity is not likely to be possible until next year or even the year after.”

Mr Josef Sanktjohanser, President of the German Retail Federation (HDE), said:

“The retail trade is severely affected by the coronavirus crisis in view of the statutory closure of stores and shops, and many enterprises are fighting to survive. We welcome the fact that the Federal Government has quickly launched immediate support programmes and loan programmes to help small enterprises. This financing support from the Federal Government and the Länder now needs to be further honed, and part of the losses must be compensated for through direct aid.”