Berlin, Aug 13 (dpa) – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has defended Germany as a business-friendly country in an interview with public broadcaster ZDF in the face of criticism over energy costs that tax industrial activity.
Scholz mentioned the billions of euros invested in Germany by foreign companies in the “Berlin direkt” project. The chancellor was once again reticent about his economy minister Robert Habeck’s proposal to reduce the cost of industrial electricity with government subsidies.
In view of the economic slowdown and the high prices of energy in international comparison, German business associations are demanding a general relief in costs. They also warn against companies moving abroad.
Scholz said large direct investments are being made in Germany and noted a massive expansion of semiconductor manufacturing. The companies “have chosen Germany as their business location,” the chancellor said.
Taiwanese chipmaker DSMC has announced plans to build a semiconductor plant in Dresden by 2027. The group expects the total investment to exceed 10 billion euros ($11 billion). Half of this amount will be given as subsidy by the government.
In addition, Intel is expected to receive nearly 10 billion euros from the state for investments of 30 billion euros in a new location in addition to its headquarters in Magdeburg, eastern Germany.
In relation to energy prices, Scholz affirmed that the government structurally guarantees the reduction of electricity generation, expansion capacities and power networks.
“We have an important task, which is to structurally reduce electricity prices, because electricity prices cannot be subsidized forever. If there had been rapid progress in expanding the electricity grids, there would already be cheaper electricity prices,” Scholz pointed out.
Scholes spoke of a “completely new momentum” in electricity generation from wind, solar, biomass and hydropower, which would affect the entire economy.
Emphasizing that Germany is very successful as an exporting country, the chancellor emphasized that his government is working to solve existing problems. In this context, Scholz noted the planned flexibility to incorporate qualified foreign workers.