GETTY/BEESCOOPAngela Merkel spotted on holiday in the Alps - while politicians fight to save Germany's carmakers
It comes as Angela Merkel is looking to retain power in parliamentary elections in less than two months’ time.
But despite the huge pressure the chancellor is facing, she hasn’t bothered to return to Germany for the make-or-break talks - which could have a huge impact on her bid to retain the chancellorship.
The politicians present must strike a balance between standing up to the companies accused of unethical behaviour for allegedly failing to acknowledge the seriousness of air pollution, while also maintaining relations with an industry that employs around 800,000 people and is widely considered a source of national pride.
Last week France and Britain announced plans to halt the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040, and countries across Europe have begun to crackdown on emissions in a bid to reduce pollution.Related articles
REUTERSDemonstrators protest against pollution from diesel cars outside the Transport ministry in Berlin
On Friday, a court ruling in Stuttgart paved the way for a local ban on older diesel cars that do not meet the latest emissions norms and German carmakers, including Stuttgart-born Mercedes and Porsche, may soon find themselves playing catch-up in a bid to develop hybrid technology for their vehicles.
Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, director of the Center Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen, said he expects the politicians at summit to use the meeting as a chance to reassure German voters as confidence in the auto industry wains.
He said: “This is about clearing this issue off the table before the election.
“The meeting is a campaign platform for politicians to reassure voters they don’t need to fear any driving bans.”
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The meeting is a campaign platform for politicians to reassure voters they don’t need to fear any driving bans
Carmakers including BMW, Daimler, Audi, Opel, Ford, Porsche and Volkswagen will all be represented at the meeting, which will be attended by economy minister Brigitte Zypries,