Following a successful financial year, I would have liked to have begun this letter to our shareholders in a more positive mood. Unfortunately, I find this impossible due to the fact that there is currently a war of aggression being waged on a sovereign country and its people in Europe. I am stunned and saddened by current events. I feel for the Ukrainian people and hope that adversity and fear will soon be a thing of the past for them. As an energy company, it is of course important for us to also make provisions for the possible impacts of this war on our country and our own role in society. We have thus formed a task force to examine the situation from all conceivable perspectives. We are aware of our responsibility for the security of supply and will do everything we can to ensure that energy supplies remain unaffected and stable.
Implementing and delivering instead of talking and procrastinating. This sentiment has shaped the successful transformation of our company over the past ten years. Energy policy now also has to implement and deliver. The target of climate neutrality has been set and has been met with broad consensus within society. The challenge now is to work backwards from this goal and implement the required measures. It will be necessary to significantly accelerate the restructuring of the energy industry, especially in view of current developments. This will mean, on the one hand, cutting the red tape associated with the approval processes for the expansion of renewable energies and, on the other hand, reforming CO₂ pricing to bring market forces more into play. I believe that another important aspect is the total restructuring of the tax, duty and levy system to account for the CO₂ intensity of different energy sources. The list is long and time is short. Against this background, I welcome the ambitious targets set by the German government and the priority must now be to rigorously implement them. We can deliver what the political agenda asks of us – across all areas of the energy supply sector, as well as for the mobility of the future and for highly efficient telecommunications. Something that is frequently forgotten is that there are also huge opportunities associated with the ongoing transformation towards climate neutrality – for companies, for Germany as a place for business, and for the employees and citizens of this country.