MIL OSI Translation. Region: Germany / Deutschland –
Source: CDU CSU
Mister President! Ladies and gentlemen! When I think back to my own experiences – first in Saarland, where I worked, and then in Brussels, where I was a young EU official and where my colleagues from so many different countries every day full of enthusiasm about what is going on in the GDR at that time, came to me – then it becomes clear that this was not only a historic achievement, but that it was also linked to a clear expectation that the millions of people who defeated communism and the dictatorship were judged us: It was the hope for unity and freedom and democracy, but also the desire for a liveable environment, for social security, for good infrastructure and for economic prosperity. That is why German unity is only finally completed and finally succeeded when we have achieved all goals in this magical hexagon.
A lot has been achieved in this short time. We have achieved a lot in the economic field; but we still have some catching up to do. One of the biggest problems at the time was the lack of a strong middle class. Back then – this is one of the miracles of German unity – there were people in the new federal states whose parents and grandparents were self-employed and who bought back their nationalized companies. There were people who came to the new countries from other European countries. One of them is sitting here with us in the German Bundestag today: Kees de Vries, a Dutch citizen who went to Saxony-Anhalt, who took over and bought a farm there and who was later elected to the German Bundestag as a German citizen.
If we look at how many young people from East Germany are today successful managers, successful company founders – not only in the East, but also in the West – then we have every reason to be proud of the new, strong medium-sized companies that have emerged there be and include this in the recognition of what has been achieved.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU and from Dr. Barbara Hendricks [SPD])
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, today we have regions in the new federal states such as Dresden and Leipzig, from which many in the old federal states can take an example. Today we have modern, efficient companies all over Europe and worldwide. But, as in the old federal states, there are still regions that are left behind, that are disadvantaged. That is why a number has to be given, namely that the per capita gross domestic product in East Germany has risen from originally 43 percent of the West German level to 79 percent. That is a good and positive development.
But many people in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania or in certain regions in Saxony where the industrial base was not available complain about a lack of prospects. This means that we also have a responsibility to give these people perspectives and to help ensure that new, competitive structures are created there.
With the Structural Strengthening Act in view of the impending phase-out of coal-fired power generation in the next few years, we have an excellent starting point so that further investments can be made in the infrastructure so that new industries can be established.
As part of the federal government’s innovative industrial policy, we helped to ensure that the BASF location in Schwarzheide for the production of cathodes succeeds. I would like to express my thanks to all politicians in Brandenburg who helped make the Tesla settlement a success. I would also like to mention CATL’s battery production in Thuringia. We have set up federal authorities in Leipzig, for example the agency for jump innovations. In the last few months in particular at the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control, BAFA, we have created over 150 new jobs in my division in Weißwasser, where building renovation and heating renewal programs are administered for all of Germany.
(Applause from members of the CDU / CSU)
We will ensure that we keep our promises over the next few months. We will ensure that the market economy also has a chance where there is a lack of actors. We will not concentrate on preserving old and outdated structures, but rather we will look at the competitive structures of the future: in the area of renewable energies, in the area of the production of climate-neutral hydrogen, in the area of artificial intelligence and digitization.
Today Dresden is a European capital of semiconductor production and digital technologies. We experience that wherever such new cores emerge, future prospects also arise and that people then no longer orientate themselves towards the populist parties of the right or left, but that they contribute to their region, their community, their City has a future perspective.
(Applause from delegate Yvonne Magwas [CDU / CSU])
Ladies and gentlemen, it is true that there are fewer headquarters of large corporations in the new federal states. It is true that there are in some cases less well-paid jobs in the new federal states. But it is not a law of nature that it should stay that way forever. I am convinced that we will not win the future in the new federal states by always trying to gelatinize and soothe the deficits. Rather, we will succeed in winning the future if we ourselves believe that we as the Federal Republic of Germany have a place in the great innovation cycles of the future, and if we help ensure that these are in the new federal states where they are ready Accepting and tackling technologies aggressively and courageously – these investments succeed. I am sure that we can create a lot of new things across regions in East and West Germany, and I am convinced that most of the impetus for innovation will come from the East German states.
A fortnight ago I had the honor of being invited to the so-called East German Economic Forum in Bad Saarow, where many medium-sized companies came together. Where two years ago there was still the anxious question: “How should things go after the phase-out from lignite-based power generation? In view of the situation in individual areas, how should things go on? ”Was the first noticeable departure. Because we have shown in a great effort that we have protected and preserved the substance of our economy and our medium-sized businesses even in the corona pandemic. But there was also a noticeable change because we are finally discussing what is necessary for the future. That means: don’t just talk, but act.
Let’s ensure that Germany becomes the country where digitization has a home. Let’s ensure that Germany becomes the country where people have the courage to try out autonomous driving. Let us ensure that we in East Germany are the leaders and recognized throughout Europe in the production of climate-neutral hydrogen. I am convinced that this will bring German unity a long way towards perfection.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU and from Carsten Schneider [Erfurt] [SPD])
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.