For the first time, the heads of the four most important German business associations are meeting for the traditional top-level talks with the Chancellor. The economic situation is more difficult than it has been for a long time.

In the face of energy concerns, high inflation and a shortage of skilled workers, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) will meet with the leaders of the German economy in Munich on Friday (3 p.m.). The traditional meeting on the sidelines of the Munich Crafts Fair took place for the last time in 2019 with her predecessor Angela Merkel (CDU) due to the corona.

In all probability, a main topic will be the preparations for a possible stop in Russian gas supplies. In the industrial centers in southern Germany in particular, there is concern that too little gas could arrive to keep production going. In addition, the sharp increase in energy prices combined with a lack of materials lead to large cost increases, which, according to information from trade associations, are far from being able to be passed on to their customers by all companies.

Another major issue is likely to be the shortage of skilled workers, which will affect all sectors and economic sectors. The Central Association of German Crafts (ZDH) estimates the number of missing skilled workers in the trades alone at 250,000. The association is therefore calling for an “equivalence law” to put vocational training on a financial footing with colleges and universities.

There are usually several dozen participants in the room, the most prominent business representatives are employers’ president Rainer Dulger, BDI president Siegfried Russwurm, Peter Adrian, head of the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce, and crafts president Hans Peter Wollseifer.