“Vaccinations are the most important weapon”

Chancellor Angela Merkel opens Hannover Messe 2021 “Vaccinations are the most important weapon”

The development of the economy depends largely on getting numbers of infections under control in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, stressed Chancellor Angela Merkel in her address at the opening of the Hannover Messe trade fair. She announced that Germany and Europe will in future be more independent in terms of vaccine production.

Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks at the opening ceremony of the Hannover Messe.

Chancellor Angela Merkel opens the Hannover Messe. Industry is holding up well in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo: Bundesregierung/Bergmann

On Monday, Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the 74th Hannover Messe trade fair. This year, the most important showcase for industry in Europe is a fully digital event, after the trade fair had to be cancelled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s official partner country is Indonesia, a state that comprises thousands of islands.

Economic development depends on infection numbers

“All in all, further economic development depends largely on the extent to which we can bring infection numbers under control,” stressed Chancellor Angela Merkel. Manufacturing industry has held up very well in spite of the crisis, but the services sector is suffering severely as a result of restrictions. The most important weapon in the fight against COVID-19 is vaccination, said the Chancellor. Testing helps build a bridge until the impact of vaccinations is felt, she declared. At the same time though, vaccinations are needed for everyone in the world in order to fight the pandemic.

German manufacturing is set to rise strongly by eight per cent, and exports are forecast to increase by 8.5 per cent. “Manufacturing industry is currently the anchor that is stabilising the Germany economy. It is playing a large part in economic recovery,” said Siegfried Russwurm, President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI).

Becoming more independent in strategic fields

The German government intends to rapidly raise vaccine production in Germany and Europe. In Marburg a new plant to produce the BioNTech vaccine began operations within a remarkably short space of time. Soon, more vaccination doses should be available from Bayer in Wuppertal. The pandemic has shown us how vulnerable international supply chains are, when too few alternative suppliers are available, said Angela Merkel. That is why Germany and Europe intend to strengthen their strategic independence.

Independence, but not protectionism

“Developing our own capacities and sovereignty means that we are also more resilient in crises and when international supply chains are hit. This should in no way be confused with protectionism,” stressed Angela Merkel. Germany and Europe are working in a number of areas to become more independent, including supplies of raw materials, technology for critical infrastructure and digitalisation. But trade with other countries will not be restricted. In fact, relations with important trading partners are to be reinforced with new agreements.

We have remarkably much in common

Many Germans know Indonesia, with its 17,000 islands, primarily as a tourist destination rather than a trading partner. Although this archipelago “would appear at first sight to be very different from Germany, we actually have remarkably much in common,” underlined Chancellor Angela Merkel. Germany is Indonesia’s main trading partner in Europe. The two countries look back on almost 70 years of diplomatic relations.

The two nations work together in a very wide range of fields, from climate action to technical and vocational education and training. In 2022 Indonesia will take over the G20 Presidency while Germany takes over at the helm of the G7. That makes the two countries close partners, said Angela Merkel. As partner country of the Hannover Messe, Indonesia can show a large audience what it has to offer.

60,000 participants, over 1,800 exhibitors, some 9,500 products, 2,200 of which are being shown for the first time, 1,700 videos showcasing exhibitors and products, 1,500 spokespersons. That is the Hannover Messe in figures. The fair’s “Digital Edition” from 12 to 17 April 2021 aims to demonstrate the strength of Germany’s manufacturing industry and exports, and spotlight how many innovations Germany offers.