Economic policy of the traffic light: talks, not open battle

Economic policy of the traffic light: talks, not open battle

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has just returned from his summer vacation. On Tuesday he visited his constituency in and around Potsdam – as a member of the Bundestag, mind you. constituency maintenance. Scholz in a dark jacket, with a white shirt, but no tie. Surrounded by security guards, just like a chancellor.

Two constituency appointments are about the economy. The topic that is likely to preoccupy the Federal Chancellor most at the moment. Because a word goes around in Germany. A term that worries many: deindustrialization. Voices from the economy are getting louder and louder that the industrial base is collapsing.

During his summer trip through the constituency, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz also visited the AneCom AeroTest company in the Aerospace Center.

Association chief warns of job losses

For example in the important chemical industry. The general manager of the industry association VCI, Wolfgang Große Entrup, points out that many companies in the industry would reduce investments in Germany: “That means we’re not just talking about deindustrialization, it’s happening every day.”

The head of the association warns of the loss of thousands of well-paid jobs. “That’s what’s threatening. That means we have to act now.” Above all, the chemical industry is demanding state aid to compensate for the high electricity prices.

Not only many industries complain. According to estimates by the International Monetary Fund, Germany will almost bring up the rear among the industrialized countries this year. Backlogged problems are now becoming more and more obvious: high taxes, a lack of skilled workers, ailing infrastructure, digital backlogs and high energy prices. So where to start? The federal government is struggling to find the right answers. And once again reveals the major differences within the traffic light coalition.

Habecks industrial electricity price

Economics Minister Robert Habeck is campaigning for the state to subsidize the electricity prices of important companies in the coming years – with around 30 billion euros by 2030. Then, the Green politician hopes, Germany will have enough cheap renewable energy for prices to fall by themselves .

Until then, Habeck wants to subsidize the electricity costs of large companies in the chemical or metal industry – financed by new debts, as he recently found in the daily topics admitted: “The question is: don’t raise funds or no longer have an industry? And I advocate that we choose the industry.”

Critics warn against permanent subsidies. And many economists point out that billions in aid for very specific companies distort competition. The companies that get nothing would be disadvantaged. The Federal Association of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses also fears that an industrial electricity price would disadvantage smaller companies.

Lindners “Growth Opportunity Act”

Finance Minister Christian Lindner is pushing for less instead of more government. The FDP politician is working on a law that provides for tax breaks and a reduction in bureaucracy. The most important point is a premium for investments, especially in climate protection.

FDP financial politician Christoph Meyer hopes that this will give companies new impetus. Because it’s about strengthening competitiveness: “All in all, we have to talk about the fact that we have to generate more again and distribute less. And Mr. Habeck isn’t giving the right answers at the moment.”

Lindner’s plans would gradually relieve the economy by around six billion euros a year. Critics say that this is not enough to achieve great effects. They ask Lindner to no longer defend the debt brake.

investment agenda the Green faction

The proposals from the Greens parliamentary group also point in this direction: According to this, the state should invest 30 billion euros in the construction industry – financed through debt. The Greens are calling for the “Economic Stabilization Fund” to be used for more investment to deal with the energy crisis. The fund is a so-called special fund, a credit-financed pot of billions in addition to the regular federal budget.

However, there is already another special fund for investments, especially in climate protection, which is partly debt-financed. The “Climate and Transformation Fund” (KTF) is to provide around 177 billion euros by 2026 – also to subsidize settlements in microelectronics.

The new semiconductor factories of Intel in Magdeburg and TSMC in Dresden are to be funded with billions from the KTF. The Taiwanese semiconductor group TSMC has just announced that it intends to build the plant in Dresden by 2027. The federal government will probably assume up to five billion euros of the ten billion euros in investment costs.

Chancellor Scholz has not yet made a decision

After his summer vacation, the Federal Chancellor is as we know him. During his visit to the constituency, he tries to spread confidence in front of the press. “Things are progressing in Germany,” emphasizes Scholz. The challenges can be solved.

From the Federal Chancellor’s point of view, the investments made by chip manufacturers show that Germany is a good business location. Scholz refers to the climate and transformation fund, which promotes investments and the government is currently launching its new economic plan.

When it comes to questions about a possible industrial electricity price, Scholz still does not commit himself. According to Scholz, the subsidized price brakes were very successful during the energy crisis of the past year. Now it is a matter of doing everything to ensure that the structural prices for electricity fall – through the accelerated expansion of renewable energy and the development of a hydrogen network.

“All necessary decisions are made to ensure structurally favorable energy prices in Germany,” said Scholz. The Chancellor leaves open whether price support is necessary in the meantime, even if there is also a lot of support for a limited industrial electricity price in the SPD parliamentary group.

No open battle for them economic policy

From coalition circles it is said that there is currently a lot of talk about measures to strengthen the business location. And although the Greens and the FDP in particular have again, in some cases, fundamentally different approaches, most of the talks are taking place behind closed doors.

The traffic light coalition wants to avoid a debacle like the open battle over the heating law this time. The topic of business location is probably too sensitive and too important for everyone – Chancellor Scholz in the first place.


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