DHK New Year's Reception 2024: Business and Politics in Dialog

Lifestyle & TravelMore+ ♦ Published: January 17, 2024; 23:19 ♦ (Vindobona)

The traditional New Year's reception of the German Chamber of Commerce in Austria (DHK) took place in Graz, set against the historic backdrop of the auditorium of the Old University.

Clemens Fuest, President of the ifo Institute Munich at the New Year's reception of the German Chamber of Commerce in Austria. / Picture: © Schelhammer Capital Bank/Werner Krug

The reception attracted numerous prominent representatives from Styrian politics and business, including Federal Chancellor Karl Nehammer, Federal Minister Susanne Raab, industrialist Martin Bartenstein, and the former CEO of Andritz AG, Wolfgang Leitner. State Councillor Werner Amon and City Councillor Günter Riegler represented state and city politics.

The keynote speaker of the evening was Clemens Fuest, President of the ifo Institute in Munich, who shared his assessment of economic development in Germany, Austria, and Europe in 2024. Fuest contradicted the assumption that growth is only possible in the industry and emphasized the importance of innovation and the healthcare sector as growth sectors. He emphasized that Germany and Austria are at the forefront of the "hidden champions" and spoke about the challenges posed by demographics, labor shortages, bureaucracy, and high tax burdens.

The German Ambassador to Austria, Vito Cecere, discussed the Berlin government's positions on international issues, including support for Ukraine and its relationship with Israel. He also praised the climate-friendly production of many Styrian companies.

The event was also a platform for critical discussions on German and Austrian economic policy, particularly concerning subsidies and energy prices. Fuest criticized the subsidized industrial electricity price in Germany and warned of the risks of misguided incentives and the delay in structural change.

The evening was moderated by the editor-in-chief of ORF Styria, Wolfgang Schaller, and ended with a call from Joachim Schönbeck, CEO of Andritz AG: "Let's turn the crisis into an opportunity". Schönbeck concluded the evening with a humorous remark about his better mood compared to Fuest.

The DHK New Year's Reception 2024 in Graz provided a platform for exchange between business and politics in a challenging economic environment. Current economic challenges and opportunities were discussed with high-ranking guests and expert speakers. The event emphasized the importance of innovation, adaptability, and the use of crises as opportunities for future growth and development.

German Chamber of Commerce in Austria