The head of Volkswagen has called on the European Union to pursue a negotiated settlement to the war in Ukraine for the continent’s economy, in an intervention that challenges the position taken by European leaders.
“I think we should do everything we can to really stop this war and get back to negotiations and get back to trying to open the world again,” Herbert Diess told the Financial Times. Auto Future Summit on Monday.
“I think we shouldn’t give up on open markets and free trade and I think we shouldn’t give up on negotiating and trying to compromise.”
He spoke as Vladimir Putin claimed that Russia was forced into a “pre-emptive response” against Ukraine, adding that Kremlin forces were “fighting on their soil” in the conflict, just as Soviet forces did in World War II.
Addressing the annual Victory Day parade on Red Square in Moscow, the Russian president hinted that he would claim more Ukrainian lands, including those currently occupied by the Kremlin’s forces.
By contrast, in a speech shortly before Putin’s speech, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused the Russian leadership of repeating the “horrific crimes of the Hitler regime” by waging a war of atrocities and land grabs. “This is not a war of two armies,” he said in a video speech. “This is a two-sided war, a war waged by barbarians.”
Dis’s comments on the need for a settlement come a day after German Chancellor Olaf Schulz pledged, Continue to supply Ukraine with weaponsAdding that “surrender to brute force” was not an option for Europe.
While Schultz’s position has been publicly supported by German industry, disruptions in supply chains – exacerbated by the war in Ukraine – continue to hurt companies like Volkswagen, the world’s second-largest automaker.
A shortage of pigtails in the country has forced the company to cut production in recent weeks, and Volkswagen has run out of electric models in the United States and Europe for this year.
Dies said that if world trade continued to struggle, “Europe would suffer the most, and Germany would suffer, but I think that would be bad for the whole world.”
Germany is currently debating whether it can withstand an abrupt halt to Russian gas supplies. a New study One government adviser found that the German economy would lose about 12 percent of its annual output if supplies were suddenly cut off.
Dis, the Volkswagen driver, who previously warned that a prolonged war would do More damage to Germany and Europe from the Covid-19 pandemichas sparked criticism for previous comments.
In 2019, he apologized after using the phrase “Ebit macht frei”, or “Profits will set you free” – an apparent manipulation of the phrase “Arbeit macht frei”, or “Labour will set you free”, which was forged at the gates of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Later that year, he said it was “unaware” China’s mass detention of Muslims in Xinjiang Province.
On Monday, Diess also warned that the German group would struggle to overtake Tesla as the world’s largest electric car maker by 2025.
“I did not expect our main competitor in the United States to grow so quickly,” he said.
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