At what stage are the gigafactory negotiations now?
We are representatives of the company PowerCo, which is part of the Volkswagen concern. They present us with ideas about the circumstances under which they would consider the location of their investment plan – an electric battery factory in the Czech Republic. We continue to answer questions, for example, they concern at what stage the industrial park will be ready. That is, its connection to water, electricity or railway, what would be the environmental impacts and so on. They need to estimate possible business risks, it’s a standard procedure. Whether we can guarantee deadlines will play a significant role in Volkswagen’s decision-making.
And can the Czech side guarantee the readiness of the industrial park? For example, the chairman of the board of Škoda Auto, Klaus Zellmer, said in an interview with the daily newspaper E15 that there is still a lot to be done. But Volkswagen’s decision should be made by the end of the year.
If we want to be in the game, we have to guarantee it. The government has already issued a resolution that it is in the strategic interest of the republic to receive such a significant investment. The Czechia must give deadlines and guarantees to the investor. Whether they are sufficient will be a question for the Volkswagen Group’s supervisory board, which will decide.
A number of affected municipalities are not very inclined to the plan, while they own part of the land that would be needed for the construction of the factory. How do you want to find a compromise with them and not proceed to the extreme variant of land expropriation?
We want to come to an agreement, there are several options: buying out the land, exchanging it, or other compensation. No one wants an extreme solution like expropriation. The share of municipal land in the affected zone is about seven percent, it is their historical property.