The economist Marcel Fratzscher has defended Economics Minister Robert Habeck against the accusation that he had galloped with his talk show statement on the risk of insolvency in the energy crisis. “I do not understand the criticism of Minister of Economics Habeck’s statements on bankruptcies, because they are correct,” wrote the President of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) on Twitter on Wednesday evening.
When asked on Tuesday evening on the ARD program “Maischberger” whether he was expecting a wave of bankruptcies at the end of this winter, Habeck replied: “No, I don’t. I can imagine that certain industries will simply stop producing for the time being. “Habeck gave flower shops, organic shops and bakeries as an example because they “rely on people spending money”. “Then they are not automatically insolvent, but they may stop selling,” says Habeck. That had earned him the accusation that he had no idea.
Fratzscher gave two examples where companies cannot produce without necessarily becoming insolvent. “Some hotels will have to close in winter because there are no customers (many people will travel less because they have higher costs for their basic services) and costs are increasing massively (e.g. energy). Temporary closures are not uncommon in the industry,” he wrote. And: “If there is a gas shortage, a number of energy-intensive companies will be forced to shut down production. The state will only be able to do this if it sufficiently compensates the companies so that they can open again in the future.”
What Habeck said is therefore correct. “One could only criticize that he didn’t talk about the state measures that apply in such cases. But given the current uncertainty, it is wise not to do so,” Fratzscher wrote.