Lufthansa under state control?
Germany plans to invest nine billion euros in Lufthansa to get it through the coronavirus crisis. The state will take a 20-percent stake in the group but the rescue plan also provides for loans and silent partnerships in the airline. The state's stake will not be large enough to directly block decisions. Commentators nevertheless debate whether this intervention goes too far.
This won't be a short haul
Even without direct access to the company's operative business, the partial nationalisation is a risky manoeuvre, says the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:
“During the financial crisis of 2009, the German state saved Commerzbank from ruin with a sum running into the billions of euros. The German government had planned to sell its shares again immediately but share prices went into a tailspin, and to this day politicians still shy away from the associated realisation of enormous losses. That's why the German government still holds a stake of more than 15 percent in the bank - and there's no end to this in sight. If we look at the difficult years that lie ahead for the aviation industry we realise that the state's involvement in Lufthansa is unlikely to be a short-haul flight.”
Make sensible use of participation rights
If economic liberals are now criticising that the state could exert too much influence on the company's business, they should take a look at France, Tageblatt recommends:
“There, even before signing a loan guarantee for car manufacturer Renault, which is also in existential trouble, the government of President Emmanuel Macron, who is often decried as too liberal, stipulated what cars are to be primarily produced and where in future: namely electric cars in France. Would there be anything wrong with the German state using its participation rights to implement sensible measures, even if only temporarily? In the case of Lufthansa, the top priority is to save as many jobs as possible and a company that is strategically important for the country. Only the state can do that.”