The screens of attendees across the country were quite full at the top of the auto on Wednesday. Before the elections, the Chancellery had business leaders, VDA President Hildegard Müller, trade unionists, representatives of parliamentary groups and countries and scientists connected for the last meeting with Angela Merkel. After two hours, the industry was somewhat relieved. This time, there were no complaints about the slow pace of change and the poor performance of the transport sector in terms of climate protection. The atmosphere was very good, they said with relief. Probably also because the government paved the way for a multi-billion farewell gift.
Because the additional $ 1 billion in funding for the auto industry’s shift to cleaner drives has been reported for some time. The “future fund” with a volume of one billion euros by 2025 is now ready to operate, said Finance Minister Scholz (SPD) after the videoconference. This should support the future direction of the automotive industry and regions. “Our goal is for the German automotive industry to build the climate-friendly cars of the future, create new jobs and maintain added value.”
The creation of the fund had in fact already been decided in principle at a previous automotive summit in November. But because the allocation of funds was not clear, the funds could not flow. The fund should serve structural change and help certain regions to restructure whose companies are suffering greatly from the change. According to the Ministry of Finance, the specific design has now been clarified on the basis of an expert report. According to it, more than 300 million euros should be devoted to regional cooperation for employees and companies. Another third of the billion is expected to help companies go digital and convert their production to new drive technologies such as electric mobility.
The “zero” fleet limit planned for 2035 is, however, a “de facto ban on combustion”
Unions fear the loss of many jobs in the face of change. IG Metall boss Jörg Hofmann called for quick disbursement of funds. “From the point of view of the employees, it will be decided in the regions whether the transformation will be successful or lead to a loss of jobs and prosperity. Aid must be implemented quickly. The first regions like Saarland, South Westphalia and South East Lower Saxony are ready.
According to participants, the industry has asked the federal government to help it defend against even stricter climate demands from Brussels. The election should not create a long power vacuum in Berlin, he said.
After the meeting, VDA President Hildegard Müller spoke out against the excessive tightening of fleet limits by the European Commission. Ambitious values have helped Europe become the first climate neutral continent by 2050, Müller said. The “zero” fleet limit planned for 2035 is a “de facto burner ban”. It is “unnecessary and reckless”. Environmental associations, for their part, are calling for a ban on combustion from 2030 in order even to be able to achieve climate objectives.