After three years with corona restrictions, the world’s largest industrial show Hannover Messe is running in its full format again. Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the President of the partner country Indonesia, Joko Widodo, and representatives from business and politics opened the exhibition.

With around 4,000 participants, the fair wants to build on the time before the pandemic. Until Friday (April 21), innovations from mechanical and plant engineering, electrical engineering and climate protection technologies will be shown.

Scholz hopes that there will be impetus for a competitive industry and the conversion towards CO2 neutrality. “I am very happy that the Hanover Fair is starting again,” said the SPD politician. She dropped out in 2020 and then had to significantly downsize her program.

The current, larger edition is now about a number of central topics, “that have something to do with the industrial awakening that we are planning in Germany,” says Scholz – and with “the upswing that is possible if we all the investments that are necessary for us to remain a leading industrial nation”.

Criticism came from business that some EU countries such as the Federal Republic of Germany were losing attractiveness as locations. From the point of view of the industry, this is due to high energy prices, too much bureaucracy and too long approval processes. Scholz emphasized that it is important that “we are there when it comes to doing business in a CO2-neutral manner and at the same time making it possible for good jobs to be possible here in the country”. Other focal points in Hanover are technologies for the more efficient use of energy, dealing with artificial intelligence and the hydrogen economy.

Climate conversion “will be a tour de force”

Scholz emphasized that, above all, the implementation of the energy transition must move faster: “So much has been left undone in recent years. But we are catching up on that now.” In order to achieve the climate protection goals, an average of up to five wind turbines and solar systems would have to be installed every day in Germany on an area the size of more than 40 football pitches. “It will be a tour de force.”

The increased speed in planning and setting up the first terminals for liquefied natural gas (LNG) after the start of the war in Ukraine should now be “the benchmark”, said Scholz. Another problem, however, is the shortage of skilled workers, especially in technical professions, which requires more experts from abroad to alleviate.

Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP) cited the technology agreement with Taiwan as an example of good international cooperation. “Let’s always take such steps wherever possible, let’s have the courage in research and in business!” she said. China, which lays claim to Taiwan, harshly criticized her visit to Taipei in March. But in Germany, too, “we have to do our homework and remain an attractive partner,” says Stark-Watzinger. Global competition has become tougher.

The head of the German electrical and digital association ZVEI, Gunther Kegel, called on politicians to promote more innovation and a more determined reduction in bureaucracy. “Companies have dramatically gained digital literacy,” he said. However, over-regulation and overly detailed specifications “represented a burden that could hardly be borne, especially for our small and medium-sized companies”. Scholz admitted: “We need less bureaucracy and faster procedures.” Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD) said it was “a time when innovations are urgently needed and needed”.

Partner country Indonesia

Widodo announced that his country – the largest economy in Southeast Asia – also wants to gradually switch to a “green” energy supply in the coming years. Damage to the rainforest and forest fires have already decreased, and all Indonesian coal-fired power plants are to be off the grid by 2050. Investors from Germany are “invited to help build this “green” economy”. Scholz said he was committed to ensuring that the long-discussed free trade agreement between the EU and Indonesia soon took shape. “This would create a common economic area with well over 700 million people in one fell swoop.”

Human rights activists from Indonesia and representatives of Amnesty International demonstrated in front of the congress center in Hanover. With a vigil, they criticized that the rights of residents of raw material extraction areas and mining regions were often violated.