In the German economy, the election of Armin Laschet as the new CDU chairman has met with mixed feedback.
While association representatives emphasize the competencies of the North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister as a “middle man” and see him as a good leader of a possible black-green federal government, leading entrepreneurs reacted with disappointment.
“It is imperative that the CDU once again become a party for business and the middle class.
With the focus on social issues alone, Germany cannot assert itself in international competition and is falling further behind, ”Klaus Fischer, owner of the Fischer Group, told WELT.
“I would most likely have trusted Friedrich Merz to master these challenges.
He would have been the better candidate. "
Trigema managing director Wolfgang Grupp was "deeply disappointed" with the choice.
“If the CDU wants to return to its old strength, it has to go new ways.
And that would have happened to Friedrich Merz. "Armin Laschet, on the other hand, stands for a" continuation of the current strongly socio-political course.
So the party has missed its chance to start over. ”For him, the CDU therefore remains ineligible.
The economy has been "criminally neglected for many years.
That will still take revenge. "
Europa-Park owner Roland Mack also hopes that Merz will continue to play an important role in the CDU: “Germany needs its economic expertise.” The medium-sized family businesses should receive more attention.
Laschet has the great advantage of his long government experience.
Merz, who was defeated by Laschet in the runoff election, did not stand for a position in the CDU presidium at the digital party conference on Saturday.
The third candidate for the chair, Norbert Röttgen, was elected to the presidium.
However, he offered himself as Minister of Economics for the current federal government.
Laschet's list of demands is long.
The CDU does not have to become a party company, said Nicola Leibinger-Kammüller, managing partner at Trumpf.
"But it has to show a more ambitious attitude towards its political competitors in terms of taxes, state regulation of companies, but also the public commitment to core sectors of German industry such as automobiles or mechanical engineering." Laschet had proven in NRW that "he fight and bring together what is most important at the moment ”.
Martin Herrenknecht, CEO of the tunneling machine manufacturer Herrenknecht, on the other hand, emphasized that Laschet now had to show that he is “actually fresher and more clearly positioned towards tomorrow and the future”.
This includes how the economy and medium-sized companies in Germany are specifically picked up.
"Do not support the path to a fully-Kaskso society"
Philip Harting, CEO of the Harting Technology Group from Espelkamp in East Westphalia, also expects: "As a likely candidate for Chancellor, he has to ensure a clear course." There is also the expectation that he will not be too generous in socio-political terms.
"The Union should be courageous to trust people again and not to support the path to a fully comprehensive company", said employer president Rainer Dulger.
VDMA chief executive Thilo Brodtmann demanded that Laschet should make the market-based brand essence of the CDU clearer: "We expect action and clear innovation impulses for industrial medium-sized companies."
BGA: Laschet suitable as a black-green leader
The Federal Association of Wholesale, Foreign Trade, Services (BGA), on the other hand, is already thinking about the future of a possible black-green federal government.
"Armin Laschet is a good choice beyond the CDU," said BGA President Anton Börner WELT.
"It's good that the last remaining People's Party has clarified its leadership issue, given the centrifugal forces in and around Germany."
One of the core tasks of the new CDU chairman is to "maintain the Berlin-Paris axis and to see himself as a moderator in the European concert who can also listen patiently," said Börner.
“A coalition with the Greens and perhaps with the FDP also needs the same characteristics.” The association is looking forward to working with the new CDU leadership, “because without a strong economy, environmental and climate protection remains more social Cohesion and much more on the route. "
Michael Hüther, director of the employer-oriented institute of the German economy (IW), emphasized the competence of the new CDU chief.
"Armin Laschet has proven several times that he can do what doing politics means: namely being able to form majorities," said Hüther WELT.
He has proven this from a difficult starting position in the CDU state association of North Rhine-Westphalia as well as since 2017 as Prime Minister.
"The CDU can only use that in the post-Merkel era."
One of Laschet's strengths is to retain good staff.
The IW boss also referred to Laschet's function as Franco-German cultural representative.
"That is why we can hope for a strengthening of the Paris-Berlin axis from him, which will benefit the entire EU." The economist himself sits on the Corona Expert Council of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, which Laschet convened in April.
Unions see Laschet as a suitable partner
Union representatives also praised Laschet's skills.
"We know that the new chairman recognizes social partnership and strong trade unions as central pillars of our democracy and that securing employment and safeguarding workers' rights in Germany have top priority," said Reiner Hoffmann, Chairman of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB), WORLD.
The DGB will be a "reliable partner" when it comes to creating social security and more justice in the country and in Europe.
The IG-BCE chairman Michael Vassiliadis described Laschet as "a chairman of the center and a man in the tradition of Christian social teaching." The fact that the party has elected him at the top is an important decision during the crisis and for the unions.
A clear political position and the firm will to balance different interests are the decisive political competencies in this diverse crisis environment, said Vassiliadis.
"This is the only way to make the realignment of our industrial society socially, economically and ecologically sustainable."
The 59-year-old Laschet, Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, prevailed on Saturday at the first digital party conference of the Christian Democrats in the runoff election with 521 votes against ex-Union parliamentary leader Friedrich Merz, who received 466 votes.
The third candidate Norbert Röttgen was eliminated in the first round.
In the first lap Merz was just at the top.
Many Röttgen supporters among the 1001 delegates then turned to Laschet.
The decision still has to be formally confirmed by postal vote.