The first "little steps" of Germany towards rearmament

(To Andrea Gaspardo)

The 5 February of the 2019, the German economy minister, Peter Altmeier, presented what, in the name and in the perspectives, should become the "German Industrial Strategy for the 2030" and in which are set all the objectives and strategies that Germany aims to carry on in the industrial field within the aforementioned year. Although this programmatic aim is ambitious, looking at the document in detail, it cannot fail to raise several questions.

The sectors that, according to Altmeier, must be made the subject of a wide-ranging investment and modernization policy are: the steel, copper and aluminum industries; the chemical industry; machinery and equipment; the automotive industry; the optical industry; the medical device industry; the "green technologies" sector; the defense industry; aerospace industry; additive production (3D prints).

It is immediately evident that, beyond wanting to strengthen the industry as a whole, this plan is heavily biased towards heavy industry, the defense sector and all those connected to them.

In the words of Altmeier, the strategic plan has the declared aim of increasing the so-called "gross value added" of the industry in Germany to 25%, against the 20% of the average of the rest of European countries.

At the same time, however, the plan marks a substantial abandonment by Berlin of the industrial model of the "Mittelstand" which supported the industrial and economic growth of Germany in the second post-war period. In fact of the 3.250.319 companies surveyed in Germany, well 3.249.818 (equal to 99,98%) fall into the category of Mittelstand (small and medium-sized enterprises, generally family-run) that produce the 68,31% of German exports, while the remaining 501 ( equal to 0,02%) are large corporations (including those of the "DAX 30") that produce the remaining 31,69%.

With the strategy promoted by Altmeier, the German state is now preparing to launch a new course in favor of large corporations, which have their own "core-business" for the most part precisely among the sectors listed above. Of particular interest is this particular emphasis given to the defense sector. Berlin has been repeatedly scolded in NATO for not respecting the pacts and contributing too little to the budget to the common defense of the alliance, although in the past it was one of the major beneficiaries. Recently it was the American president Donald Trump himself who said that "Germany's promise to raise the percentage of its GDP to defense to 1,5% from the current 1,23% is not enough, considering that the members of the alliance have made a common commitment to raise their percentage to 2% ".

What seems to be missing from the president of the United States, however, is that, with Germany having the largest GDP in the European continent, it can afford to spend less than the United Kingdom (2,1%) and France (1,81%) and obtain, in absolute figures, a comparable expenditure.

Incidentally, the increase in the German defense budget envisaged by the "German Industrial Strategy for the 2030" is the largest since the 30 years of the last century. Ooops!

Photo: Bundeswehr