Quo Vadis Baden-Wuerttemberg?

Former economics minister Ernst Pfister gives a speech at Business School Alb-Schwarzwald on the future of Baden- Wuerttemberg

Ernst Pfister is practically “part of the furniture” in state politics in Baden-Wuerttemberg. Originally from Trossingen, Pfister was a long-standing member of the Baden-Wuerttemberg state parliament and between 2004 and 2011 he was the Baden-Wuerttemberg state minister for economics. As part of the Baden-Wuerttemberg Week of Industry and a Studium Generale initiative at Business School Alb-Schwarzwald, which belongs to Steinbeis University Berlin (SHB), Pfister recently gave an enthralling and lively talk in Rottweil.

If there’s one thing Ernst Pfister is convinced of, it’s that Baden-Wuerttemberg and Germany are looking good at the moment, but to keep moving forward, Europe requires a sharp jolt. Regional questions relating to education and business can be resolved on a domestic level, but the big topics of our times such as defense, the refugee situation, and terrorism are tasks for Europe.

What key changes does Pfister believe will have to be dealt with positively in the coming years? As a politician interested in economics, he believes that innovation, research, and development must be permanently driven forward. It is helpful in this respect to have the decentralized university system to turn to in Germany. One important aspect related to this is the improved digital infrastructure, although this is currently being hampered by a huge investment backlog.

Pfister believes it will be particularly important to create a new culture of entrepreneurship, especially given the high number of company successions looming on the horizon. He also says there must be a halt to the erosion of pension provisions, which he considers particularly worrying. Manpower shortages are impeding economic success in the state and Pfister believes that it will not just be important to keep effective training and employee development systems in place, but there is also a requirement for modern migration legislation. Funding for small and medium-sized companies is a particular concern for Pfister; this central powerhouse of society is highly vulnerable to fiscal drag.

Despite the hot weather in Rottweil on the day, an interesting discussion subsequently developed between Pfister and the many people in the audience, many of whom will have taken a key thought of Pfister’s away with them: As an experienced politician, he believes a fear of change is always a bad advisor.


Ute Villing
Steinbeis-Transfer-Institut Business School Alb-Schwarzwald (Berlin/Gosheim)