“Over-worded” – Porsche apologizes after reporting on the satirical ZDF program
ZDF satirical magazine Die Anstalt claims that Porsche boss Blume bragged to his employees about his alleged influence over FDP boss Lindner. The carmaker speaks of an “exaggerated” wording – and like the FDP, it dismisses the influence charge.
NFollowing allegations of allegedly influencing the traffic light coalition negotiations, Porsche AG apologized for the “exaggerated” wording and regretted the process. ZDF satirical magazine Die Anstalt previously presented unverifiable quotes from Porsche boss Oliver Blume. According to them, the CEO said at a plant meeting on June 29, 2022 that Porsche played a “very large role” in the further use of synthetically produced e-fuels for internal combustion engines “covered by the coalition agreement.” .
“During an internal event in June, there were exaggerated formulas for which we apologize,” said a spokesman for Porsche AG WELT AM SONNTAG. “The choice of words does not match the facts. The exchange did not take place and there was no impact ”. The FDP also dismissed the allegation from the satirical program.
Cabaret artist Max Uthoff said on Tuesday’s program that Blume, who is expected to replace Herbert Diess at head of parent VW on Sept. 1, has managed to “keep open” the future use of e-fuels for his clientele.
As evidence, he cited the alleged statement by Blume to Porsche employees on June 29: “We have a very large share in the fact that e-fuels have been included in the coalition agreement. We were the main driving force there, with very close contact with the coalition parties. Christian Lindner has been keeping me updated almost hourly over the past few days.
In the program’s “control fact” we read: “The editors have evidence that verifies this statement.” At the request of “Stern” ZDF did not want to further comment on exactly what the evidence looked like.
E-fuels are synthetic fuels to be produced from renewable electricity. Environmental groups have criticized that they are ineffective and will remain expensive and only available to a limited extent for the foreseeable future.
FDP leader: “There was no contact with Mr. Blume before”
Lindner denied the report on Friday. The position of the head of the FDP on e-fuels has been known for years, according to Lindner’s Twitter account.
In a statement on Saturday, the FDP said: “The content of the positioning on e-fuels took place in the opposition role in the German Bundestag before 2021 and in the FDP’s election program, so long before the federal elections, coalition negotiations and government formation.”
The traffic light coalition stipulated in the coalition agreement that it wanted to work on ensuring that e-fuel vehicles could be registered also after the ban on internal combustion engines in 2035. During the negotiations at EU level, the FDP insisted on this exception for e-fuels – with success.
As the FDP further announced, in October 2021 there was “just a short phone call” between Blume and Lindner about questions about the use of e-fuels. “Mr. Lindner also spoke to CEOs of vehicle manufacturers who do not support e-fuels. As far as we know, the companies also held such talks with the coalition negotiators. ”
In negotiations at EU level this year, FDP leader Lindner has acted “in line with his long standing” in the federal government. “Before this decision was made, there was no contact with Mr Blume on this matter, nor was there any attempt to influence Mr Lindner’s long standing position.”
Control in the lobby is crucial
The newspaper “Bild” reported that after the allegations were revealed on Friday, a Porsche spokesman and a spokesman for the Ministry of Finance reportedly contacted. After the newspaper was asked, Bilda received an SMS from a Porsche spokesman that was apparently intended for a spokesman for Lindner. This shows that “the Porsche and Lindner team are in close contact,” according to “Bild”.
The organization Lobby Control sharply criticized the reported events. One of her spokesmen, Christina Deckwirth, told WELT AM SONNTAG: “It is highly problematic that during coalition negotiations there are special accesses for large, financially strong corporations. And if it is true that the Porsche boss boasted about it internally, it would be another sign of just how natural such special access is for the car lobby and how confident CEOs are confident in their influence over leading politicians.
Regarding the report on possible coordination of the press spokesman in crisis communication, Deckwirth added: “If the press officer of the Federal Ministry of Finance and Porsche were also coordinating with each other in crisis communication, it would be an additional important problem: the ministry has to regulate corporations and cannot cooperate with them”.
The Left Party warned of a threat to democracy in connection with the allegations of the “institute”. “It cannot be that the Porsche boss was apparently better informed about the state of the coalition negotiations than the rest of the population. That would undermine democracy even more, ”said Jan Korte, parliamentary leader of the left-wing faction in the Bundestag, WELT AM SONNTAG. “It has at least one” flavor, “added Korte.