Germans back nationalization of key industries

Germans back nationalization of key industries
Photo: DPA
A large majority of Germans would back partial nationalizations within strategic sectors to protect them against potential foreign takeovers, a poll published in weekly magazine Stern on Thursday showed.

Of 1,001 people polled by the Forsa institute, 77 percent said they supported the state taking stakes in electricity and gas companies if they became the targets of undesirable foreign investors, the magazine said.

Another 64 percent said they would agree if the targets were German banks or insurance companies, and 60 percent in the event that railroads, airlines or postal services were at risk.

On October 23, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced the creation of a sovereign wealth fund to invest in strategic French groups. The news was criticized by German authorities, who deemed such a move to be protectionist.

Such funds exist in the Middle East and Asia, and their growing financial clout, have caused alarm in Germany and elsewhere, owing to fears the country’s industrial jewels could be controlled by foreign governments with strategic interests.

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