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Country leaders want to strengthen solar industry: Brussels meeting

Michael Kretschmer (CDU), Minister President of Saxony / Photo: Robert Michael/dpa
Michael Kretschmer (CDU), Minister President of Saxony / Photo: Robert Michael/dpa

The solar industry in Germany has already collapsed once. A similar dilemma is now to be avoided in view of massive Chinese exports of solar modules.

At a meeting in Brussels, the heads of the German states spoke out in favor of maintaining and strengthening the European solar industry. In a statement, they advocated further strengthening the stability of the EU's internal market in a globally challenging environment while safeguarding the competitiveness of the European economy. At the same time, they pointed out that various countries outside Europe have launched subsidy programs for important industries and for climate-neutral technologies.

According to the Saxon state chancellery, the solar industry was also listed as an important sector in the "Brussels Declaration of the Länder" on the initiative of Minister President Michael Kretschmer. This, he said, had "not only fallen into a situation threatening its existence due to non-European subsidy programs, but currently also due to extremely anti-competitive practices by Chinese manufacturers."

Kretschmer said the solar industry was important for Europe and Germany. "We have to be careful that this industry can grow here again. It is therefore crucial that this industry now receives the support it needs from the EU as quickly as possible." Saxony is considered one of the largest locations in Europe for the production of solar modules.

"Strategic Achilles heel"

Saxon Energy Minister Wolfram Günther also drew attention to the difficult situation of the industry. He considers photovoltaics a "strategic Achilles heel" of Europe and urged more support. "China is currently flooding the European market with solar modules that are to be flogged off far below manufacturing costs. That's dumping. That endangers our solar industry."

The solar industry in Saxony and central Germany is a leader in technology and research, Günther said. "Now it is on the verge of growing, entering the mass business to equip the energy transition. We have to be extremely careful not to stifle this development now." The clear-cutting of the solar industry must not be repeated, he said.

The one-sided dependence on Chinese solar modules is dangerous, he said. "With oil and gas, we have seen where one-sided dependence on just one supplier leads," the Green politician stressed. He called for a "resolute European response to dumping from China." For this, he said, proposals are being developed.

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