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Speech at the annual meeting of the BDI

Politicians and industry share responsibility

In view of the major challenges posed by digital transformation, politicians and industry have a shared responsibility. “We can only address the tasks that face us if we work together,” said the Chancellor in her speech at the annual meeting of the BDI, the Federation of German Industries.

The Chancellor speaks at the annual meeting of the BDI, the Federation of German Industries This week the Bundestag is to pass the Skilled Worker Immigration Act
Photo: Bundesregierung/Kugler

“We see the challenges,” confirmed Angela Merkel. The Chancellor pointed to the numerous projects the government has launched since March 2018 in the fields of digitalisation, migration and research funding that support industry.

Answers to technological transformation

Digitalisation disrupts the entire life of society. It is a challenge to every one of us and it makes clear demands of the German government. The social market economy is called on to fight for acceptance in the broadest sense at this time of globalisation, said the Chancellor. She stressed that the government and industry share responsibility; stability and reliability are needed so that people will accept and embrace the transformation.

Where does Europe see its place?

Europe is aware of the challenges at this time of rapid change, said Angela Merkel. The European Commission will thus elaborate a European industrial strategy which clearly states where Europe sees its place in terms of competition with China and the USA.

The trade agreement with the USA is vitally important. It is essential to attempt to resolve the trade conflicts with the United States of America through talks and sensible solutions, declared the Chancellor. The impacts of the trade conflict between the USA and China are already being felt by German industry too. “Here I can only hope that solutions can be found.”

Visible results

The German government is doing much to improve the environment for German industry, said the Chancellor. It is providing more funding for research and development. Research packages have been adopted and Germany has become more attractive to foreign scientists and academics.

The government is also working to improve internet connections in residential and commercial districts, and in schools, and has launched the auctions of the frequencies for the new 5G mobile phone standard.

Before the end of this week the government will be bringing before the German Bundestag a package of measures involving eight acts of parliament relating to managing and steering migration. The Skilled Workers Immigration Act is of pivotal importance for industry. “We are convinced that this act will also help fields that are currently suffering an absolute shortfall of skilled workers,” said Angela Merkel.

Climate action targets can be met by 2030

The Chancellor thanked industry for its work on the “Coal Commission”, which has agreed to end the use of coal in power generation by 2038 at the latest. This will call for the re-planning of energy policy by the end of the year, to ensure the supplies remain reliable and power remains affordable.

The German Council of Economic Experts will produce a report exploring the options for pricing carbon dioxide that is to be used as the basis for further consultations.

The annual meeting of the BDI, the Federation of German Industries, is the most important economic-policy congress staged by the body. The Voice of German Industry, which also represents related service providers, is the umbrella organisation for 36 sector-specific associations and over 100,000 companies with a combined workforce of a good eight million.

Jun 04, 2019