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, 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.”
The comments drew a sharp rebuke from Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. “The best strategy for big German companies is to cut off trade ties with Russia completely and then invite Russia to stop the war and return to diplomacy,” he told the Financial Times. Volkswagen hanging Domestic production and exports to Russia in March.
“People in Kyiv prefer that the CEO of Volkswagen addresses President Putin personally, a man who knows him well and the man who launched this war of destruction against the people of Ukraine,” said Andrey Melnik, Ukraine’s ambassador in Berlin.
He added that Des “should call on the Kremlin to immediately cease hostilities against the civilian population of Ukraine.”
Des spoke as Vladimir Putin reaffirmed Russia’s war aims The annual Victory Day parade on Red Square in Moscow. In his speech, the Russian president claimed that the Kremlin’s forces were “fighting on their own” in the conflict, hinting that he would claim more Ukrainian territory, including those currently occupied by his forces.
Emphasizing the difficulty ahead in a negotiated peace, 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-world war, a war waged by barbarians.”
Dis’s comments on the need for a settlement come a day after German Chancellor Olaf Schulz pledged to do so 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 scale back 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 production 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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