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The Agenda of the Grand Coalition (November 2005)

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Boosting Confidence – Ensuring Social Security

In Germany, social security is guaranteed mainly through social insurance funds. However, demographic change and the impact of unemployment have greatly increased the burdens on the social insurance system. For people to feel secure in a rapidly changing world, they must be confident that the pension, long-term care, and health insurance funds can function effectively. Boosting this confidence is one of the tasks that the Grand Coalition has set for itself. We will introduce the necessary reforms to safeguard social security now and in the future. This means a fair and equitable distribution of burdens between young and old, a higher retirement age that reflects longer life expectancies, and better support for private pension provisions for young families in particular. The fundamental risks of life – sickness, old age, the need for long-term care, and unemployment – will continue to be covered by a social security system that is based on the principle of solidarity.

Safeguarding the Future – Supporting Families and Children

A society without children has no future. Not enough children are being born in Germany. We want families with more children as well as more children in our society. The family is the place where people learn to take responsibility for themselves and others. The family is the bedrock of a liberal society.

We want to support families and make their lives easier. We will provide tax breaks for childcare and introduce a parental allowance. To enable parents to achieve a better work-life balance, we will improve the range of childcare services and expand the options for full day-care. The family encompasses all generations. The multigenerational family offers the chance to take responsibility for each other. We will develop models that enable multiple generations to live together and to assume responsibility for each other.

Education and Science – the Keys to the Future

Germany’s future lies in the brainpower of its people. Education is a central issue, and it calls for serious efforts by the federation, the federal states, and the municipalities. Education is a prerequisite for participation in society. It is a central issue in the further development of our economy and our country as a whole. Our resource-poor country can only fulfil its future potential if it leads the field in scientific and technological progress. Therefore, the state and the business community must spend more on research and development. The private sector, the federation, and the federal states all have a role to play here. Our target – to spend 3% of our gross domestic product on research and development – is achievable if all these stakeholders work together and support our integrated policies in this field.

Practicing Sustainability – Protecting the Environment

The CDU, CSU, and SPD are firm advocates of sustainable development. An intact natural environment, and clean air and water are prerequisites for a good quality of life. We view environmental protection as the joint responsibility of the state, its citizens, and the business community. Our policies are based on cooperation and individual responsibility on the part of business and citizens, market forces, and competition, in combination with binding legislation and the effective monitoring of compliance. For us, ambitious environmental policy is part of a modern society, and it is an essential component of global climate protection. Such a policy can become a driving force for:

– developing and marketing future-oriented technologies worldwide,

– enhancing energy and resource productivity and thus boosting the competitiveness of the German economy,

– creating new and secure jobs for well-qualified workers.

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