Germany’s economy minister hospitalised after fall from stage

Jill Petzinger
Jill Petzinger, Germany Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
Helpers shield the stage with a blanket after economics minister Peter Altmaier fell heavily at the digital summit in Dortmund, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, on Tuesday. Photo: Bernd Thissen/via Getty Images.

Germany’s federal economy minister Peter Altmaier was taken to hospital on Tuesday morning, after tripping and falling from the stage at the Digital Summit in Dortmund.

Video footage from the event appears to show Altmaier missing his step and falling to the ground. The auditorium was cleared until medics arrived to treat him.

The economics ministry confirmed that he had fallen off the stage and was conscious and undergoing medical treatment.

Altmaier had given a speech announcing plans for a new European cloud network, called Gaia-X. Germany and France and other EU partners are planning to launch Gaia-X as an alternative to the cloud infrastructures of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, IBM, and Google in Europe. AWS currently owns about 40% marketshare for cloud services.

German economy minister Peter Altmaier. Photo: Annegret Hilse/Reuters

Gaia-X would link different cloud services through a common European data-sharing standard. According to Bloomberg, the strategy paper from the Economy Ministry notes that “data are the resource of the future” and to that end Germany and Europe “needs data infrastructure that ensures data sovereignty and enables the sharing of data on a broader and secure basis."

The German government wants to launch the test phase of Gaia-X early next year, and make it operational at the end of 2020.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to speak at the digital summit in Dortmund later on Tuesday.