Saarbrücken (dpa) - Saar Prime Minister Tobias Hans worries about the country's important steel industry and has in a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel (both CDU) asked for help.

Short-time working has been prevalent in the Saarland companies for some time, writes Hans in the letter that was available to the German Press Agency and about which the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" had previously reported.

Now things would have tightened again, writes Hans. The Dillinger Hütte and Saarstahl had announced a reduction of nearly 20 percent of employees in the next three years. The steel industry is the second most important industry in the Saarland. Dillinger Hütte and Saarstahl alone employ around 14,000 people worldwide.

Most recently, IG Metall and works councils on the Saar had announced that they wanted to meet with the Saarland's federal politicians Peter Altmaier (CDU) and Heiko Maas (SPD). On Wednesday, the union had demonstrated at a rally in front of the state parliament in Saarbrücken about 1200 people against the threat to numerous jobs in the country. The second major industry on the Saar, the auto industry, is currently suffering.

Hans writes in the letter to Merkel of major upheavals for the entire German steel industry. He lists challenges such as global overcapacity, dumping and subsidy practices in other countries, the impact of US punitive tariffs, and declining steel demand in the auto industry. "My great concern is that without renewed joint efforts by the state, the federal government and the EU, the challenges ahead can not be met," Hans said in the letter. The road to a more expensive greener steel production would not be feasible without federal and EU support.

On a possible amount of aid for the steel industry, Hans said to the "FAZ": "If we have 40 billion euros to get out of coal for climate protection purposes, we must also be able to raise billions, which is not in the double digits, to our steel industry to lead a climate-neutral future. "Although the national climate package is correct, but complicates the situation of the steel industry, because energy will be even more expensive.

FAZ report (fee-based)