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Economic & Social Policy
The VDMA's economic policy positions are derived from the conviction that competition, individual responsibility and open markets form the basis for overall economic success. We call for a regulatory-based economic policy that creates a good, reliable framework for investment and innovation. In this way, we offer technological solutions, create secure employment and ensure that it will continue to be attractive to be an entrepreneur in Germany and Europe.

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  • VDMA statements on current controversial issues
In the daily political debate, convincing arguments are the be-all and end-all. In the VDMA's BriefPositions you will find short statements on current controversial issues. They supplement the "Common Economic Policy Positions of the German Engineering Industry".

Aus unseren Inhalten

Aus unseren Inhalten

Aus unseren Inhalten
Economic policy positions of the mechanical and plant engineering industry 2023

Traditionally at the beginning of the year, the VDMA revises and updates its economic policy positions.

Friendshoring: Trade Paradigm for a Contested Global Economy?

The US wants to reduce trade dependence on malign actors while reaching agreements with the EU and other trading partners with shared values. Does this signal a shift with implications for German industry?

Fourth Minimum Wage Adjustment Ordinance published

The Fourth Ordinance on the Adjustment of the Level of the Minimum Wage (Fourth Minimum Wage Adjustment Ordinance - MiLoV4) was published in the Federal Law Gazette on November 29, 2023.

Parental allowance: Changes planned

The draft of the Budget Financing Act provides for a reduction in the income threshold for receiving parental allowance.

Mechanical engineering increases research expenditure to record level

The mechanical and plant engineering sector in Germany spent almost 8.7 billion euros on research and development in 2022. This was an increase of almost 6% on the previous year and also a record figure.

"Getting serious in the fight against climate change"

In the fight against climate change, stronger agreements than previously expected must be reached at the COP28 conference. The mechanical and plant engineering industry has the technical solutions and expertise needed to achieve the targets.

CECE Quarterly Economic Bulletin - November 2023

Every quarter, the CECE (Committee for European Construction Equipment) publishes current trends and information on the European construction equipment market and the European construction industry.

Overregulation weakens Germany as an investment location

Bureaucracy in Germany has developed into a tangible disadvantage for the country as a business location. Several business organizations are therefore calling on the German government to impose a consistent moratorium on red tape at all levels - including in Brussels.

News from the tax world

The event provided information on current tax issues and provided valuable information on key corporate tax topics as well as current tax projects of the German government.

"Managing climate risks becomes a competitive advantage"

Climate change is also having an impact on business models in mechanical and plant engineering. Many companies are therefore actively managing climate-related risks and opportunities and see this as a competitive advantage.

VDMA welcomes the approval of the European Parliament

The European Parliament has given its approval to the Free Trade Agreement between the EU and New Zealand. The VDMA sees this as a positive signal for the importance of free trade.

"A gift for non-European competitors"

The planned EU supply chain law would overburden small and medium-sized companies and would not help in the fight against child labor. The EU should learn from the experience with the German supply chain law and make its law more manageable.

VDMA business climate survey in the BRIC countries - 2nd half of 2023

The business situation in India and Brazil remains positive. The companies surveyed there expect significant nominal sales growth in 2023 and 2024. In China, on the other hand, sentiment is at a historic low.

"Reality and practical check necessary"

The EU wants to strengthen European industry with the Net-Zero Industry Act. Mechanical engineering is to be recognized as an essential part of the net-zero value chain. The industry needs pragmatism in national implementation.

"A bold approach to reducing bureaucracy"

The bureaucratic burden is increasing, which is the wrong direction. What is needed is less, simpler and more digital. This is the demand of the VDMA and the title of the National Regulatory Control Council's annual report.

VDMA emphasizes strategic importance of Manufacturing-X

Sharing data is crucial for the success of digitalization. Manufacturing-X provides the perspective for a federative data ecosystem for Industry 4.0.

Do not leave Africa to the Chinese

Africa is a promising sales market for mechanical engineering. Economic cooperation must therefore be the focus of German and European policy, otherwise China will dominate the market.

Mechanical engineering companies in China paint a gloomy picture of the situation

The mood among German mechanical engineering companies in China has darkened noticeably: Only 10 percent of the companies surveyed still rate the current business situation as good. Despite the current challenges, China remains a growth market.

Gas supply 2023/2024

On 9.11.2023, the Competence Center Climate & Energy hosted an online information event on the current security of natural gas supply in the coming winter of 2023/2024.

11th Amendment to the ARC Enters into Force

The Federal Cartel Office has received new powers of investigation and intervention, further, disgorgement has been simplified. The 11th Amendment of the ARC at a glance.

NRW mechanical engineering under pressure

NRW's mechanical and plant engineering sector is not only suffering from the effects of global challenges, but also from the implementation of EU regulations, excessive bureaucracy and a lack of planning security.

"The EU Data Act creates additional challenges"

The EU Data Act puts data traffic between companies on a new footing. For industrial SMEs, this is both an opportunity and a risk. Politicians must not leave companies out in the cold.

A summit day full of highlights

From China to climate change and transformation through artificial intelligence: the first day of the Mechanical Engineering Summit featured one thematic highlight after another.

The "Michelangelo" of the German government

After a long working day with his French counterpart, Federal Finance Minister Lindner concluded the first day of the mechanical engineering summit. He received much applause for his adherence to a policy against new debt.

Bureaucratic frustration and a flood of regulations annoy companies

The ongoing flood of bureaucracy and new regulations is slowing down medium-sized industrial companies and hindering innovation and investment. The industry is skeptical about 2024 and is calling for serious political reforms.

An exemplary attitude

The wars in the Middle East and Ukraine also dominated the opening of the 14th German Mechanical Engineering Summit. VDMA President Karl Haeusgen and Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck placed Germany's economic situation in the global political context.

Politics and business in dialog: the VDMA's political evening

At the VDMA's political evening, high-ranking representatives of German industry met with German politicians to discuss the challenges facing mechanical and plant engineering and the future of Germany as an industrial location.

The main recommendations of VDMA

VDMA advocates progress in the talks between the EU and Thailand. The abolition of tariffs and the removal of technical barriers to trade can give trade a boost.

Industrial Metaverse - The future of digital networking

At the 14th German Mechanical Engineering Summit, discover the Industrial Metaverse: Future of Digital Networking. Experience opportunities and challenges, discuss potential for sustainable business and actively shape the future.

"Striving for cooperation in digital and ecological transformation"

Germany and Italy maintain close economic relations, especially in mechanical engineering. The new VDMA office in Bologna is intended to be a local point of contact.

Embrace and threaten - China's economic strategy

Partner, competitor and system rival: China's role has changed dramatically. While still enormously important as a sales market, Beijing is at the same time making clear its claim to determine the rules of global trade.

"Europe must finally deliver!"

The EU's Global Gateway Initiative has the potential to become a real alternative to the New Silk Road. However, what is necessary for this is the willingness of the EU to participate in the financing of infrastructure projects in the Global South.

Missed opportunity for better trade relations

During the EU-U.S. Summit, the EU and the U.S. were unable to reach an agreement on the steel and alumunium dispute. VDMA continues to urge the two sides to strike an agreement by the end of 2023.

"Industrial strategy needs more market-based elements"

The industrial strategy of the German economics ministry analyzes the situation accurately, but does not draw the right conclusions. It must not be a blank check for an industrial policy initiative that is not market-oriented.

Benchmark study on export financing for sub-Saharan Africa published

VDMA study shows need for catching up (or pent-up demand) for German financing offers

Israel: Shock and responsibility

"Inconceivable, appalling, a breach of all civilizational achievements and hardly bearable" - the VDMA and its presidium condemn the terrorist attacks as well as anti-Semitic reactions and emphasize their support for Israel.

The EU Commission wants to limit payment terms to 30 days

The EU-Commission has published a proposal for a Regulation to combat late payments. We welcome the objective, but demand that contractual freedom be taken into account.

"Finally eliminate transatlantic trade barriers"

The EU and the US must quickly resolve their trade disputes. Long-term solutions are needed in the tariff dispute and on the issue of conformity assessments. Industries on both sides of the Atlantic would benefit from this.

"EU plans to cut red tape are not yet enough"

Excessive regulations and reporting requirements have become an unbearable burden for companies. The EU Commission wants to make cutting red tape a focus of its work. But it is not aiming for a major breakthrough.

"40-hour week must become the rule again"

The political measures to solve the labor shortage are insufficient. A quick course correction is needed: longer working lives, raising the retirement age, increasing weekly working hours.

"Don't talk up the Growth Opportunity Act!"

The Growth Opportunities Act is an important step toward modern corporate tax law. The mechanical and plant engineering sector is now waiting for swift implementation. The law must not be talked up and become the subject of political tie-in deals.

„United States and Europe must immediately end the steel dispute!“

The tariff dispute between Europe and the U.S. could soon flare up again if the two sides do not quickly find a lasting solution. The VDMA and a good dozen industry associations are calling for a final settlement of the dispute.

"We can't always make allowances to everyone"

The increasingly shrill tones in the debate about Germany as an industrial location are counterproductive, according to VDMA President Karl Haeusgen. In an interview with the newspaper WELT, he stresses that "Germany is not going under."

Machinery and plant engineering has a big stake in India

India's importance for the European mechanical and plant engineering industry is increasing all the time. Exports are growing and numerous companies, including those from Germany, are expanding their involvement in the country. The VDMA is counting on a free trade agreement between the EU and India.

"Germany must be freed from bureaucratic shackles"

The VDMA lists the construction sites that must be eliminated to strengthen the country's competitiveness. VDMA President Haeusgen warns against doomsday scenarios and calls for honest announcements.

VDMA calls on EU and US to make concrete progress

VDMA had meetings with the EU-Commission to advocate for a durable end to the steel and alumunium dispute and for a EU-US Mutual Recognition Agreement on Conformity Assessment for machinery products.

Implementation aids for the Supply Chain Sourcing Obligations Act (LkSG)

Joint offer by Germany Trade & Invest (gtai), the Federal Foreign Office (AA) and the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK)

Rejuvenating China business - securing market success, creating resilience

China's importance for the mechanical engineering sector remains high, but the government's aggressive economic policy poses major challenges for SMEs. The China issue will also be omnipresent at the 14th German Mechanical Engineering Summit.

Machinery and equipment manufacturing plans to increase staff

Machinery and equipment manufacturing remains a highly attractive employer. Skilled workers are offered excellent job options.

"New export promotion rules are disservice to climate protection"

Export credit guarantees are to be linked to strict climate policy requirements. This will lead to considerable disadvantages for German exporters. The climate policy sector guidelines must therefore not enter into force on October 1.

Our expert and focus topics

Our expert and focus topics
Mechanical and plant engineering figures and charts
The statistically recordable world of mechanical and plant engineering - newly presented in interactive charts and tables. Find out about all the key economic figures for the industry and, in particular detail, about the development of the EU Single Market.
VDMA Brief on Politics and Business
In the daily political debate, convincing arguments are the be-all and end-all. In the VDMA's BriefPositions you will find short statements on current controversial issues.
PFAS - Indispensable for industrial processes
Industrially indispensable but facing a potential EU ban. Learn more about the reasons and consequences of the impending PFAS ban for machinery and plant engineering on the new VDMA expert topic page.
Standort Deutschland
Many medium-sized mechanical engineering companies have regional roots and are highly competitive internationally from their home region. To ensure that this remains the case, excellent site conditions and a good industrial policy are absolutely essential.
Technological Sovereignty
Technological sovereignty as a goal is gaining importance regarding the changed geopolitical situation. International division of labor and global trade are our drivers of prosperity and are existential, especially for the mechanical engineering sector.
Industry 4.0 needs easily available, secure and consistent data networking. Manufacturing-X is designed to make this possible. The goal is to establish a data ecosystem that enables trustworthy data exchange between companies based on open standards and offers companies digital sovereignty.
For a united and strong Europe
For the mechanical engineering industry, as one of the largest industrial sectors in the EU economy, Europe is a home market. Therefore, VDMA is committed to a strong and capable EU.
Green Deal
With the "Green Deal", the European Commission has presented a far-reaching program for more climate and environmental protection in the EU in 2019. The central goal is to become climate neutral by 2050, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% compared to 1990 emission levels and to further promote the circular economy in Europe.
Europe and China
The perception of China in Germany and Europe has changed in recent years. Firstly, China is an important economic partner and also of significant importance for the German mechanical engineering sector. On the other hand, there is growing recognition at economic and political level in Germany and the European Union (EU) that the existing imbalance with China, for example in market access, is no longer acceptable.
VDMA Infoportal Ukraine War
The machinery and plant engineering sector condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the strongest possible terms. The VDMA supporta its member companies in word and deed in order to master the many challenges that are arising.
The transitional arrangement between the EU and the UK expired at the end of December 2020. There will certainly be changes concerning trade with the UK. What do mechanical and plant engineering companies need to anticipate?
Securing skilled workers
Almost 60 percent of employees in the mechanical and plant engineering sector are skilled workers. Alongside engineers, they shape the role of mechanical and plant engineering as a decisive enabler for green technologies.

Level 1 Themenwolke


To the point

To the point

Auf den Punkt Zitat Social Policy

"The bureaucratic burden on companies is already immense and very personnel-intensive. The EU threatens to impose further excessive reporting obligations, where even threshold values are of no use to small and medium-sized enterprises."

Henrik Schunk, VDMA Vice-President

Auf den Punkt Zahl Gesellschaftspolitik



The Supply Chain Duty of Care Act (LkSG) came into force on 1 January 2023. It applies from this date to companies based in Germany with 3,000 or more employees and from 1 January 2024 to companies with 1,000 or more employees.

Source: BMWK

Auf den Punkt Zusammenfassung Gesellschaftspolitik

The relevance of the Net-Zero Industry Act for the mechanical and plant engineering industry
  • Machinery and equipment manufacturing is an essential part of net-zero value chains and crucial for increasing production capacity in the EU.
  • It is very positive that the potential of mechanical engineering and its contribution to achieving the net-zero target is being recognised.
  • Many VDMA members will fall within the scope of the NZIA and could, in principle, benefit from its privileges. However, it is not yet clear to what extent the benefits will be available to small and medium-sized companies in particular.
  • However, many of our members' activities do not fall directly within the scope of the NZIA. For example, if capacity and resources are prioritised by public authorities for net zero projects, this could be seen as discrimination.
  • It is therefore difficult to assess the overall impact and relevance of the NZIA for engineering companies.

Unsere Leistungen

Unsere Leistungen
VDMA Berlin Office
For VDMA, representing the political interests of its members is a core service. The capital office sees itself as a mediator not only for the interests of our members, but also for contacts between politics and companies.
VDMA European Office Brussels
The European Office is a bridge between business and politics. We inform our member companies about relevant political developments. We are a competent contact for EU decision-makers.
VDMA Regional Associations - Your Local Partners
No matter how big your company is and what solution you offer: We are there for you! With individual consulting, practical events, a comprehensive network and good connections to politics.
EU Bubble Talks – 30 minutes insights from Brussels
Whether it's the Green Deal, industrial strategy or digitization initiatives - have you always wanted to know more about the activities of the EU Commission and EU Parliament and how they affect the mechanical engineering industry? Then participate in our regular web seminar which is held in English and immerse yourself in the "Brussels Bubble" with us.
The VDMA ShortPositions are published monthly and cover current political topics. We hereby intend to contribute to the exchange between politics and business.


Newsletter EU-Politics
Our monthly newsletter informs you about all social and economic policy issues that are discussed, decided on, and passed at the EU level.
Brief report by the IMPULS Foundation
As a complement to the classic studies of the IMPULS Foundation, the organization's brief reports provide a quick, initial assessment of current issues - without compromising on scientific standards and utility for readers.
Events on EU policy
VDMA regularly organizes and supports political events on EU policy. Follow the European policy debates and better understand what framework conditions are coming for mechanical engineering.



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VDMA partners

Bündnis „Zukunft der Industrie“
Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e.V.
German Economic Institute

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Benefits for you as a member

Largest industry network in Europe

3,600 primarily medium-sized member companies in the capital goods industry make the VDMA the largest industrial association in Europe and the most important network organization in the industry.

Strong representation of interests

The VDMA is the most important voice of the machinery and equipment manufacturing industry. It represents the common economic, technical and scientific interests of the industry in Germany and around the world.

A wide range of services

More than 500 VDMA employees worldwide support you with practical services to make the right decisions in your company - along the entire value chain.