Working together for Germany – with Courage and Compassion
Germany faces tremendous challenges. Unemployment, public debt, demographic change, and the pressure to adapt to globalization all require major political efforts to safeguard the welfare and prosperity of present and future generations. The CDU, CSU, and SPD are facing up to these tasks. We have a shared responsibility to move our country forward. We will use our parliamentary majority to bring about structural reforms in Germany, to encourage stakeholders to join in our endeavours, and to boost people's confidence in our country's ability to meet the challenges of the future.
Safeguarding Prosperity – Creating Jobs
Reducing unemployment is a central responsibility of our government policy. We want to give more people the chance to work. Work does not just secure livelihood, it also allows people to participate in and have a stake in society. Getting more people back to work will also improve our country's financial situation and relieve the burden on our social security networks.
We plan to introduce targeted measures to kick-start our economy. Over the next four years, specific initiatives – with a total funding of 25 billion Euros – will be launched in five key areas to boost innovation, investment, growth, and employment, and to increase consumer confidence.
By raising the rate of degressive depreciation of capital goods, promoting the energy efficient refurbishment of buildings, and providing tax breaks to offset the costs of handiwork in private households and to better support household-related services, we will ensure that Germany achieves higher growth.
We intend to assist job-seekers by further improving Germany's employment and recruitment services. We are especially committed to helping the young unemployed. Our "50 Plus Initiative" will improve the employment prospects of those over fifty.
We will also improve job prospects by further developing the rules on lay-off protection, by reducing non-wage labor costs, and by promoting start-ups. We will ease the burden on SMEs by cutting red tape. Business successions will be facilitated by our reform of the inheritance tax law.
Pressing ahead with the Build Up of Eastern Germany [Aufbau Ost]
We will continue to advance the development program for Eastern Germany, and we will help the new federal states [Länder] achieve self-sustaining economic growth. To this end, we will continue to promote a high level of investment in Eastern Germany in order to safeguard existing jobs and create new ones. Education, training, and research will remain key priorities: the aim is to encourage innovation and improve Eastern Germany's competitiveness as a location for industry.
Restoring the State's Scope for Action – Consolidating Public Finance
Germany's massive budget deficit and debt service are restricting the state's ability to act. In order to place our public finances on a sound footing, a concerted effort must be made to consolidate the federal, state [Land], and municipal budgets. We will:
– restructure, reform, and invest, and
– in the process, ensure an equitable division of burdens across the board.
We are determined to save and to abolish subsidies. That is the priority. However, without tax increases, the financial consolidation that is so crucial for our country cannot be achieved.