Westphalian Business Day 2019

Prof Dieter Kempf, President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI)

“Economy in political climate change”

The President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), Prof Dieter Kempf, has urgently called on politicians to secure the country's future viability through more investment. "Germany has become a snoring country," said Kempf on Tuesday (29 October 2019) in Münster at the 25th Westphalian Business Day of the Economic Society for Westphalia and Lippe. In his speech on "Business in political climate change", the BDI President criticised the fact that existing technical possibilities were not being sufficiently utilised in Germany.

More research funding was therefore needed in the field of artificial intelligence, for example. "Energy and climate policy is keeping us tied up at the moment," Kempf conceded and at the same time warned: "We must not risk robbing ourselves of the economic strength we need to think up and then build the solutions for the future with an exaggerated climate protection debate in this country." The climate could not be saved by "flicking the switch" on industry.

Focus on environmental and industrial policy

In a "changing world", the BDI President went on to explain that he was unable to see any merit in US President Trump's isolationist policy. "Economic wars are being waged by politicians on the backs of the economy and society in all countries involved."

The 2nd Chairman of the Economic Society for Westphalia and Lippe, Dr Benedikt Hüffer, also addressed the topic of climate policy in his welcoming speech. He warned against taking the industry's breath away through excessive political regulation. "Freedom and agility and the creation of competitive advantages should be the guiding star for the environmental and industrial policy of the future," emphasised Hüffer.

At the end of the 25th Business Day, BDI President Kempf took part in a discussion with Westphalian entrepreneurs Ingo Hoff (Managing Partner of Industriebau HOFF und Partner, planning office and construction development from Gronau) and Lars Baumgürtel (Managing Director of the Voigt & Schweitzer Group, headquartered in Gelsenkirchen).

In the discussion moderated by WWL board member Dr Norbert Tiemann, Kempf emphasised the importance of medium-sized industrial companies for the German economy. Lars Baumgürtel emphasised how difficult it is today to effectively represent the concerns of industry down to the interests of an individual entrepreneur "all the way to Berlin". Ingo Hoff emphasised: "We must continue to exert our influence on politicians, but in particular appeal to people's intelligence. And not come up with bans and believe that we have to take people by the hand." Politics and business should ask themselves what they could achieve together for a better society.