QUESTION: The coalition agreement in Germany provided for criminal sanctions against companies of any size. Naturally, the large companies can withstand such an attack. Small business cannot. Do you see this as another push over the cliff for Europe since Germany is the pillar of the EU economy?
Thank you from Berlin
ANSWER: Unfortunately, this new provision was demanded by the SPD. It allows for major suits through the back door which will destroy small business and expose them to financial risks that may make it just impossible to do business. Major companies like VW can weather the storm of a criminal action. This allows even for antitrust proceedings in price agreements. People will be able to allege and off you go on with years of investigation that may lead even nowhere. Even the closure of a production plant that violates environmental guidelines will be actionable. The list goes on and on. While the administrative offense law can impose fines. here we are looking at actually criminal prosecutions. When criminal actions become profitable to the accusor, tyranny flourishes.
This is one more step at the exact wrong moment that will only further restrain economic growth when it becomes too risky for small business.