Keeping industry in Germany a central challenge for 2023 – econ min
Clean Energy Wire
Challenges such as high energy prices, lowered competitiveness, skilled worker shortages or the high need for investment threaten to push industry investments away from Germany, but the country will commit itself to remaining a strong industrial location also in the future, economy minister Robert Habeck said at the 2022 Industry Conference. The industry sector plays a central role in the transformation towards a climate-neutral, digital and resilient economy, the Green-party minister said. “We want to achieve the European and national climate targets with the help of an efficient and competitive industry," Habeck said, adding that "if we succeed, I am convinced that we can emerge stronger from this crisis.” Safeguarding Germany as an industrial location, establishing frameworks that enable industry to stay and manufacture in the country and ramping up the procurement of goods for future-markets will be central to political debate and attention next year, the minister argued.
Habeck's ministry warned in October the energy crisis could push Germany into a recession. Additionally, a survey by industry federation BDI among industrial companies found that 58 percent of them regard the price hike for energy and also for raw materials as a “strong challenge” and 34 percent even as an “existential” one that could ultimately force them out of business. “Policymakers must strengthen investments in the expansion of renewable energies and in the necessary transformation processes in industry, for example in the rapid ramp-up of the hydrogen economy,” BDI president Siegfried Russwurm said. If Germany wants to remain an industrial powerhouse, it should become world leader in the renewable energy sector, IG Metall chairman Jörg Hofmann said. “We must use the energy crisis as an opportunity to accelerate the energy transition. We will not master the transformation by delaying, postponing and adjourning,” he said.
The government has agreed on a 200-billion euro “defence shield” package to support households and businesses struggling high soaring energy prices. It also plans to expand renewable energies faster, hopes to strengthen energy efficiency, and has presented a strategy to speed up digitalisation.