Munich (dpa) - Shortly before the expected decision about the controversial delivery of a train signal system for a huge coal mine in Australia, Siemens boss Joe Kaeser meets Fridays for Future activist Luisa Neubauer.

The invitation to the interview was given earlier this week, it will take place on Friday, said a company spokesman on Thursday. The editorial network Germany (RND / Friday) had previously reported on the meeting, which is therefore taking place in Berlin. As the German press agency learned from the corporate environment, a decision about the delivery could also be made this week.

"We take the topic very seriously and take the necessary time to hear and discuss different perspectives," said a Siemens spokesman for the meeting on Friday. There had already been protests last year against the Munich group's contribution to the billion-euro project. It wasn't until December that an Extinction Rebellion activist had stuck to a window at corporate headquarters.

Siemens boss Joe Kaeser made the issue a top priority in mid-December and announced that he would put the project to the test. "I'll look into the matter carefully and get back to you soon," Kaeser wrote on Twitter. At that time, he explicitly left open whether Siemens would waive the order. The decision about this is now imminent.

Siemens faces a dilemma when it comes to the order for the signal system for the Indian industrial group Adani's billion-dollar project: the group has set itself the goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2030 and repeatedly emphasizes the climate-friendly effect of its technology. But for its contribution to the planned coal-fired power plant, the Munich-based company is now in the pillory with climate protectionists, because burning coal releases carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming.

Siemens does not mention the volume of its order, but circles say it has a dimension of around 20 million euros. That's not much for Siemens standards, especially when you consider the damage to the image that the company is threatened by the protests.

For Friday, Fridays for Future has called for protests in front of Siemens offices in Germany under the heading “Siemens do not fire”. Among other things, a 24-hour vigil is planned in front of the Siemens headquarters in Munich.

In addition, the new builder invited by Kaeser earlier this week wrote in a guest post with Nick Heubeck for “Welt”: “The mine project is only possible through cooperation with companies like Siemens, which (not only) throw coal into the fire metaphorically. While people are still fleeing the flames, it is precisely these companies that have to show what responsible action means. "The departure from Neubauer and Heubeck that would be required would be" a small step for the group, but a big sign for Australia and the rest of the world ».

Adani wants to build one of the largest coal mines in the world with a width of 45 kilometers in Australia, which is to mine six open-cast mines from five underground mines up to 60 million tons of coal per year. The project has been fought by environmentalists for years. In mid-2019, the Australian authorities had given the green light for the project. The coal industry plays an important role in Australia.

Fridays for Future