Within the space of a few days in September, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and German economic minister Peter Altmaier both publicly called for the creation of a climate-neutral economy by 2050. Each of their proposed initiatives focuses on augmenting CO2 reductions. But the success of European and German climate policies will depend on more than meeting climate targets alone.
Opinion Piece by ZEW President Professor Achim Wambach
17.09.2020 · ZEW (awh/deg)
| Economic sciences
| Educational policy
| Educational System
Economics has now also come to the schools of North Rhine-Westphalia. Starting in the school year 2020/21, economics is to become a mandatory subject in all secondary schools in this state – North Rhine-Westphalia is taking the step that Baden-Württemberg took four years ago.
| Single European market
The European Commission’s ban of the planned merger of the Siemens and Alstom train divisions in May 2019 put the issue on the front page: Is the European internal market well equipped to adequately deal with the challenges posed by the China’s economy and Chinese companies, such as the railway giant China Railway?
European Integration and EU Policy
| Single European market
| Economic-Growth Package
Throughout Europe, the coronavirus crisis has had severe economic consequences, although they differ in type and scope between countries and regions. The EU Commission has responded to the crisis with an array of policy instruments. As the contours of a general strategy have begun to take shape, the Commission is in the process of planning an EU-wide recovery fund.
Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President of the EU Commission, has expressed concern about the “big differences” in state aid granted by the Member States in connection with the coronavirus pandemic. In particular, she fears that Germany’s aid programmes are giving its companies an advantage over those in countries whose governments cannot afford similar levels of support.
| Crisis management
| Economic-Growth Package
| European Union
The world has changed dramatically over the past few weeks: countries everywhere have issued exit restrictions, many companies have halted operations, stock exchange markets are in turmoil, economic forecasts range from bad to terrible, and governments have approved unprecedented rescue packages.
ZEW President Achim Wambach and Klaus Schmidt on the Coronavirus Rescue Package of the German Government
30.03.2020 · ZEW (awh/fkr)
| Federal Government
| Economic policy
The German Bundestag and the Bundesrat have approved the biggest rescue programme in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany. With a volume of up to 600 billion euros, the Economic Stabilisation Fund (WSF) aims to intervene in the economy and support German businesses during the difficult times amid the coronavirus pandemic. While the federal government’s swift and determined action is to be welcomed, greater account should be taken of the lessons learned from the financial crisis that began in 2007, argue ZEW President Professor Achim Wambach and Klaus Schmidt, professor at the University of Munich and chair of the Board of Academic Advisors to the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
| Competition law
| Digital Economy
| Market power
The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has submitted a draft proposal for the 10th Amendment to the German Competition Act (GWB) – the cornerstone of the social market economy. Otherwise referred to as the ‘GWB Digitalisation Act’, the amendment reflects how digitalisation is dramatically changing the way we do business. But one important step remains. After a long delay, the draft proposal has been published, and opinions from professional associations and the states will soon be heard. This is the second amendment aimed at integrating the special features of the digital economy into competition law. While the 9th amendment to the GWB integrated the terms ‘data’ and ‘platform’ into the GWB, the present draft shows how radically these concepts have altered our economy.
At her annual New Year’s address, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel renewed her commitment to climate action: “I will do everything in my power to ensure that Germany does its part – ecologically, economically, societally – to get climate change under control.” Climate policy is becoming increasingly important in Germany. In August 2019, the Cabinet passed the Structural Development Act for German coal-mining regions; three months later, it rolled out a new climate bill. What is more, federal and state authorities recently agreed on a timetable for phasing out coal.
ZEW President Achim Wambach on the Technical Recession
13.11.2019 · ZEW (fkr)
| Business Cycle
| ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment
| Economic change
| Energy transition
| Infrastructure investment
It was one of the longest booms in post-war history. Since 2009, Germany’s gross domestic product (GDP) has grown year after year. Per capita GDP today is 33 per cent higher than it was ten years ago. But now growth has stalled. Following a 0.1 per cent quarter-on-quarter decline in GDP in the second quarter, GDP is expected to shrink again in the third quarter. The German Federal Statistical Office, which publishes its quarterly figures on 14 November, may declare a “technical recession” – a decline in GDP over two consecutive quarters. Should the government take steps to stimulate the economy?