Dieselgate: VW Supervisory Board Weil and the hardware problem

Stephan Weil

In contrast to his party colleague, Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD), Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil thinks little of retrofitting diesel vehicles with hardware. They are “unlike often suggested no panacea“, he announced last week. Of course you can hold this opinion – the only problem is: Because VW’s supervisory board is also legally obliged to the well-being of the company. And it’s hard to believe that this didn’t play a role in forming his opinion.

Politicians out, independent experts in

This once again shows that politicians on supervisory boards are sometimes subject to serious conflicts of interest. After all, strict conditions for VW would be expensive, but desirable from the point of view of many citizens and voters (for example, if they want to keep their car or cannot afford a new one). And the fact that Weil has taken the side of the company in this case should not lull anyone to safety at VW – it may look different in the next conflict. In any case, it would be good corporate governance if the state of Lower Saxony were to send the Minister President and Economics Minister Bernd Althusmann to the VW Supervisory Board without getting tired of it – and not an independent industry expert, as FDP leader Christian Lindner had demanded in the spring.