This article is from Reuters and shows a photo from inside the Grugahalle in
Essen at the RWE AGM. I was on the second row at the front , very close to the
lectern, one seat out of this photo.
I arrived at the halle at 8am with Simone from urgewald, a german environmental
group, who were my hosts for the day.
By the time we arrived there were approx. 200 protestors outside chanting for
'abschalten.....close them down'
Heffa Schucking the MD of urgewald had arranged for various press and TV
interviews which I took part in during the day, I did three TV interviews with
WDR 1, apparently the largest publicly owned TV company in Germany.
At 8.30 we progressed into the halle and I picked up my 50 RWE shares and voting
We then went to register our speeches, Heffa asking for Grossmann to resign and
mine explaining about the plight of Oldbury and Wylfa.....see
www.shepperdineagainstnuclearenergy.blogspot.com for full transcript.
By 10am there was at least 500 protestors outside the halle who were sitting on
route to the entrance. The board announced there would be a delay as still lots
of the 5000 people were outside.
The Grugahalle hold up to 8,700 people, there must have been at least 200 TV
screens, so you could watch and hear the proceedings whilst eating a bratwurst
and pretzel, the dinner rooms were burgeoning with people and media, it took me
half an hour to get a bratwurst!!
After about a 15 minute delay proceedings started with a speech from Grossmann
the CEO of RWE. As soon as he started to speak small pockets of shareholding
protestors against atomkraft became evident.
Throughout the duration of his speech seven small groups of shareholders
requesting 'abschalten' were removed from the halle by pretty bulky security
It was evident the utter abhorrence that german public now feel for atomkraft.
This type of protest had never occurred before at the RWE AGM.
Following Grossmann's dismal speech and the general feeling from the boards
(Supervisory and Executive) that RWE are doomed...you can,t build an energy
company today on nuclear, lignite and coal and a massive contribution from
renewables of 1.5 per cent.
Then came the turn of the shareholders to speak.
Up first was a representative of Allianz , a big, shareholder, who roundly
condemned the nuclear element of the business, the fourth largest shareholder
wanted the business to change away from nuclear and coal if it is to have a
future, they also questioned the relationship with E.on and the nuclear
involvement in the UK which has to be sorted out by 2015.
Of all the speakers most mentioned Fukushima and nuclear. Very few could take
any positives of RWEs continuing support of atomkraft.
Schucking then made her lucid speech requesting the immediate resignation of
Grossmann which was met with support from around the halle.
Then came my turn with my colleague from urgewald , Simone, after being allowed
to speak two sentences in English, Simone took over and I was left to make eye
contact with as many shareholders around the vast halle.
Following the speech Herr Grossmann addressed three questions I had asked.
They may need more land for the Oldbury development, It is the British
government that wants new nukes and RWE are just trying to help them, The
British government is looking at the terrorism issue and if they are satisfied
then RWE would be happy, They are waiting for the results of the stress tests
and the Weightman report.
Herr Grossmann did offer to meet me privately after the event to discuss my
issues in further detail but unfortunately I had to leave to catch my plane.
It is an offer that I would like to take up in the future.
The next visit to Essen and the Grugahalle will be in early May when E.on have
their AGM, Dr Carl Clowes from the Wylfa campaign will be attending as a member
of the critical shareholders association.
Thanks............we will win this one.......no doubt!
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