Wednesday, August 12, 2020

These government officials decide on billions in aid

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The WSF has a volume of 600 billion euros. The fund is said to be able to provide 400 billion in guarantees so that companies can continue to borrow money and remain liquid. The WSF can also invest in companies with a further 100 billion. This possibility of partial nationalization is a particularly extensive intervention. It is therefore all the more important who decides in future which company and which conditions receive state aid.

The so-called WSF committee is to make this decision. According to Handelsblatt information, the members met last Thursday for the inaugural meeting. The task of the committee: to decide on all guarantees of more than 500 million euros and federal government holdings in companies if the corona pandemic has caused them to run into liquidity problems.

The WSF committee is headed by Jörg Kukies. The State Secretary is one of Olaf Scholz’s closest employees. In the Federal Ministry of Finance, Kukies is responsible for European politics and the financial market – and thus for many corona bailouts. The State Secretary is a financial specialist, before moving to the federal government he was co-chief at Goldman Sachs Germany.

Equal cast

The Vice Chairman of the WSF Committee is Ulrich Nussbaum, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Economics. Altmaier brought walnut to the Ministry in spring 2018. He was a finance senator in Berlin for more than five years and previously in Bremen. Walnut is independent.

Another member of the powerful committee is Lars-Hendrik Röller. He has been head of the finance and business department at the Federal Chancellery for almost nine years, making him the first adviser to Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) on economic issues. Röller took over from Jens Weidmann after he became president of the Bundesbank. Before working in the Chancellery, Röller was President of the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT) in Berlin.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs is represented on the WSF Committee by State Secretary Leonie Gebers. She has been in the Ministry of Hubertus Heil (SPD) since March 2018 and has a lot of government experience. Before joining the Ministry of Labor, she briefly headed the Environment subdivision in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, before that the “Political Coordination” staff in the Federal Foreign Office.

Margaretha Sudhof sits on the committee for the Ministry of Justice, in which legal expertise is also required for possible state aid. She has been State Secretary to Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) since last summer. Before moving to Lambrecht, the legal scientist Sudhof was State Secretary in the Senate Department for Finance in Berlin for seven years.

The Ministry of Transport is represented by State Secretary Tamara Zieschang on the ESC committee. She has only been working in the home of Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) since December. Previously, she was State Secretary in the Ministry of the Interior and Sports in the State of Saxony-Anhalt.

More SPD members in the committee

While the WSA committee has an equal number of men and women, the party affiliations are overweight in favor of the SPD. Three government officials come from Union-led and SPD-led houses. But while Kukies, Gebers and Sudhof also have SPD party books, Nussbaum and Röller are independent. Zieschang is a CDU member.

The five State Secretaries and Röller are voting members of the WSF. There are also two advisory members: the managing director of the Federal Finance Agency, Jutta Dönges, also belongs to the committee. Your authority manages the WSF. KfW boss Günther Bräunig also advises on the committee. The federal government often uses KfW to process state aid.

No decisions on possible aid have been made in the constituent meeting of the WSF committee on Thursday. At the moment, this is not yet possible because the EU Commission has not yet received state aid approval. Rather, the meeting was intended to ensure that the committee was now able to work promptly.

With Lufthansa, there is already the first possible major order. However, the federal government is already discussing possible state aid for the airline. It should emerge that both the Union and the SPD aim for more than a silent participation. When the federal government joins Lufthansa, it apparently wants to have a say in return for the billions in aid.

More: Caution, state economy! – These are the side effects of the corona crisis.

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