- Hans Weber
- February 3, 2023
Uncertain outlook for industry
Industrialists who see the writing on the wall are slowly speaking up. Owner Petr Paukner of Carbounion Bohemia told HN that it’s
irresponsible for people to say we would manage a ban on Russian natural gas, because we wouldn’t. Chair Herbert Diess of Volkswagen told the FT that “we should do the utmost to really stop this war and get back to negotiations and get back to trying to open up
the world again.” This drew a sharp rebuke from Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba. The unions at VW’s Škoda Auto unit also
reacted harshly when the company broached the idea recently of resuming suspended production in Russia. That apparently wouldn’t
be a violation of any planned sanctions, but it would go against the spirit of putting Ukraine first. VP Radek Špicar of the Confederation
of Industry told Czech Radio that no member of the association has ever put pressure on the board to speak out against the sanctions.
One of the Confederation’s board members is Martin Jahn of Škoda. His top boss, Diess, is now saying things that many others are
thinking but don’t have the courage to utter. Something’s got to give.