Economic Affairs Minister Peter Altmaier (centre) and the attendees of a conference on Germany as a location for business (2020).

Economic Affairs Minister Peter Altmaier (centre) and the attendees of a conference on Germany as a location for business (2020).

© BMWi

Speaking at a conference with representatives from the industrial sector, the unions, and science, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier spoke out in favour of structural action to give a lasting boost to companies’ competitiveness.

Said Federal Minister Peter Altmaier: “The stimulus programme is worth €130 billion, making it the largest in the history of our Federal Republic and a strong response to the crisis. Beyond the stimulus package, however, structural action is also needed to strengthen our companies’ ability to compete. This is how we can usher in an economic recovery and safeguard stable growth into the long term.”

Dieter Kempf, President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), said: “There are chronic weaknesses that impede the economic recovery in our country. This is why we must do everything we can to strengthen the competitiveness of the German industrial sector. It is important that the stimulus package creates incentives for private companies to invest quickly and accelerates public-sector investment. The target here must be to whet companies’ appetite for investments – sooner rather than later.”

Said Jörg Hofmann, First Chairman of the German Metalworkers’ Union (IG Metall): “Unless we succeed in stimulating the economy and demand, we will lack the resources for future transformation. This will be our downfall, because we won’t know what we want to produce tomorrow and how. If we are to make Germany stronger in terms of investments and business, we need government action and a compelling industrial policy. The goal of that must be to safeguard industrial value chains and jobs in Germany and Europe. We can’t resort to the recipe of ‘close down here and more to low-wage countries’. Skilled professionals are a key factor in deciding where to produce. It is key to consider location policy from the employees’ perspective. This is why it is so important not to let the coronavirus destroy qualified training, continuous education, or the dual vocational training system. Co-determination and a strong role for the social partners are a key requisite for this.”

Said IfW President Gabriel Felbermayr: “Germany needs globalisation so we can safeguard our prosperity into the future. A key focus must be to strengthen the EU and the Single Market. This includes a swift implementation of the Digital Single Market and an EU investment programme for public-sector goods, such as infrastructure, research and development, or outstanding European universities.”

The “Analysis of the German economic framework relevant to the industrial sector compared internationally”, which had been prepared by IfW on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, was presented at today’s conference and informed the discussions alongside the Industrial Strategy for 2030.

The goal of this strategy is to improve the investment and financing framework in Germany, expand digital infrastructures/roll out Industrie 4.0 technologies, and to further strengthen the transfer of technologies. At the same time, care must be taken to ensure an affordable supply of energy, and to speed up and streamline planning and approval procedures.

Another key item on the agenda of Germany’s Presidency of the Council for the EU, which began on 1 July, is how to overcome the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim is to lead the EU back to fresh strength as a location for business and investment by further boosting its competitiveness and capacity for innovation. The industrial sector has a key role to play in this. It must feature prominently in the post-COVID-19 growth strategies at both the national and European levels.

You can find the (German) text of the joint declaration here (PDF, 478 KB).