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German economy minister urges more investment in green technology

Robert Habeck, German vice chancellor and minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection, speaks during the 2023 federal budget debate on the budget week at the German Parliament (Bundestag). Photo: Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa

Germany needs more investment in green technology going forward, argued Economy Minister Robert Habeck in the Bundestag on Friday, or risk falling behind other economies that are already making the investments.

“There will be a competition between the major economic powers to see who can be the best, the fastest and the most decisive in building up this key market into one that is climate neutral and with green industry,” the leading member of the Green party said during the debate on his ministry’s budget for the coming year.

“To say that this is all just eco stuff or climate protection fails to recognize the economic debate we are in,” Habeck added.

Looking at the US Inflation Reduction Act, Habeck noted that the US wants to invest tens of billions of dollars in climate protection during the next 10 years, for example to promote the production of solar cells and wind turbines. But that is raising fears that European and German companies will relocate to the US or open new plants there.

“The future will decide who is the fastest and best at building innovation and capability in an area of a green economy,” Habeck said.

He noted that Germany has a Climate and Transformation Fund, with about €200 billion ($208.3 billion). This is “quite comparable” to US plans.

Among other things, renewable energies, hydrogen, the necessary batteries and e-mobility should be promoted from the fund. “The task is that we have to become faster and more decisive in planning for expenditures and in competition law within Europe,” Habeck said. Competition law sets limits on state subsidies.

The budget for the Ministry of Economy and Climate Protection for the coming year includes spending of €14.57 billion ($15.2 billion), up from €11.33 billion in the current year.


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