State demands Nokia return €41 million

Nokia has been given one week to return €41 million of the subsidies it received from the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and NRW bank. The reasoning behind this demand is that Nokia created fewer jobs since 2002 than it promised.

“The facts that were available at that time do not support the bank and state government’s attempts to recall the subsidies,” a Nokia spokeswoman told Berliner Morgenpost.

The Nokia plant in Bochum will be closed mid-year, eliminating 2,300 full-time jobs and 1,000 traineeships. Much of the production will be moved to Romania. This move has sparked large protests and widespread criticism on the part of politicians.

In a contribution to Frankfurter Rundschau, Federal Minister for Finance and SPD member Peer Steinbrück said that Nokia has “economic tunnel vision,” because it is closing the Bochum plant, not because it “made losses, but because it did not make enough profit.” He also said Nokia’s actions lack “respect and dignity for the workers who gave Nokia years of good work.”

The public prosecutor’s office has also started some preliminary investigations as to whether Nokia committed subsidy fraud.