Over 1,100 companies apply for state aid

Though Opel and Arcandor have dominated the headlines, over 1,100 German companies have asked the government for help weathering the current financial crisis, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported Sunday.

Over 1,100 companies apply for state aid
Photo: DPA

Without citing sources, the newspaper reported 345 companies’ applications had been approved, totaling €640 million worth of loans which have flowed through the state-owned KfW bank. If all of the applications are approved, the government could have to finance up to €5 billion worth of loans, according to the FAZ.

Most of the 1,100 applications come from small and medium-sized companies. In addition, there are at least 20 applications from large companies for loan guarantees of approximately €7 billion. Examples include the car maker Porsche and tire maker Schaeffler, both of which are struggling to repay massive debts the two companies accumulated trying to buy rival firms.

The newspaper says the costs to rescue automaker Opel are not included in the estimates.

The cost estimates also only include expenditures by the federal government, though state governments have also intervened. The state of Hesse, for example, has offered loan guarantees since November 1.

“When politics mixes itself into the allocation of money, then the dam quickly breaks,” said Kurt Lauk, the president of the Christian Democrats’ economic council told the newspaper.

As a result of falling tax revenues and greater state spending, state debt is expected to reach a record €1.66 trillion by the end of the year, which will cost an additional €70 billion per year in interest payments alone.

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Pay women footballers the same as men, says German chancellor

Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday made a push for equal pay for men and women international footballers after Germany's successful run at the recent European Championships.

Pay women footballers the same as men, says German chancellor

“My position on this is clear,” Scholz said after a meeting with the German Football Association (DFB) to discuss the issue.

“We talked about how we can continue to help more girls and women get excited about football. Of course, the wages at such tournaments play a major role in this,” he said.

“That’s why it makes sense to discuss equal pay. I made the suggestion and I’m very grateful that there is a willingness to discuss this issue.”

Germany scored their biggest major tournament success since 2015 at this year’s European Championships, losing to England in the final at Wembley.

Scholz attended the final and also supported the women’s team by tweeting: “It’s 2022, and women and men should be paid equally. This also applies to sport, especially for national teams.”

READ ALSO: Scholz to cheer on Germany at Euro 2022 final

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) visits the DFP headquarters on Tuesday.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) visits the DFP (German Football Association) headquarters on Tuesday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sebastian Gollnow

Germany’s women would have received €60,000 each if they had triumphed at the tournament, while the men would have received €400,000 each had they prevailed at the Euros last year.

Bernd Neuendorf, president of the DFB, said he understood the argument “that equal work and success should also have the same value”.

“I’m willing to discuss in our committees whether our payment system is up to date or whether it should be adjusted,” he said.

Germany coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg suggested that international footballers’ wages could be evened out by paying women more and men less.

Officials must now “follow up with action” after the meeting, she said in an interview with the ZDF broadcaster.

Scholz said he was “very, very proud” of the women’s performance at the Euros, even if “it didn’t quite work out”.

“I hope it will have a long-lasting effect, not only on the players themselves… but also on football in Germany,” he said.