Habeck gives the Altmaier: Germany makes a fool of itself in mask production

Habeck gives the Altmaier
Germany makes a fool of itself in mask production

A comment by Andreas Laukat

Germany has invested many millions in the production of corona protective masks. But now the authorities are letting the companies down. That’s a really bad idea.

It is an incredible waste of tax money: the federal government has funded the purchase of machines and raw materials with many millions of euros so that corona masks can be produced in Germany. But now the machines are standing still, workers are on short-time work. Why? Because the responsible authorities prefer to continue buying the masks in China.

The reason: the masks are a little cheaper there. But it is wrong to only look at the price. At the beginning of the pandemic, masks were suddenly in short supply – also because the manufacturers in Asia could not meet the immense demand.

This shows how important it is to have control over critical infrastructure. That is why the federal government and the federal states must finally put their foot down and, if necessary, change the award criteria. This makes it easier for the authorities to buy the somewhat more expensive masks made in Germany. Anyone producing in this country deserves a fair chance.

The federal government has so far approved 90 million euros for mask production – and is in the process of sinking the money. Economics Minister Robert Habeck continues where his predecessor Peter Altmaier left off. His position is loosely translated: “Tough luck, we can’t do anything about that!” He’s making it way too easy for himself. It wasn’t long ago that more production was demanded in Germany, almost in a panic. Did Habeck forget that?

Nobody is forced to shop in Asia. Each authority may specify criteria in the tenders that give preference to European production. This is not dull nationalism and has nothing to do with discrimination against Asian manufacturers. It is right to promote, for example, more sustainability, less CO2 emissions or better working conditions.

It’s always a grave mistake to focus only on the quick advantage and ignore the long-term consequences. However, this knowledge has apparently not yet been implemented across the board.

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