Talking Point
Unemployment benefit Q and the elusive quest for social justice
Time to enhance (social) justice is the election campaign slogan of the SPD and its leadership candidate, Martin Schulz. To bring this slogan to life the chancellor candidate and the Federal Minister for Labour, Andrea Nahles, recently presented plans for specific labour market policy measures. The duo is proposing that the existing unemployment benefit be extended to include an additional component and that the eligibility criteria be relaxed. The idea of the new benefit Q (for qualification) is to grant registered recipients the right to participate in qualification programmes. It could double the benefit period – for younger jobseekers from one to two years and for those aged 58 and above from two to four years.  [more]
European integration
Who is afraid of populists?
With developments in the UK and the US, populism was a key theme in 2016. But does the perception of 2016 as “the year of the populists” really fit for Europe? A closer look suggests that while populism was an omnipresent theme in public discourse, support for populist parties in polls rather remained stable and elections did not translate into outright populist wins. The rise of populist parties has however been a multi-year trend. Populists can affect national politics in various ways. One possible effect is that forming a government (coalition) often gets more complicated and time-consuming and results in more fragile governments. Another is populists’ potential impact on policy discussions’ style and content. Pursuing policies with long-term benefits but which are often not instantly popular becomes more difficult ‒ both at the national and the European level. [more]
Gemischte Entwicklung in der Kreditvergabe, solide deutsche Konjunktur in Q4 2016
Lending to German corporates and self-employed showed markedly diverging trends in Q4: while business with the manufacturing sector slumped, the upswing in lending to the services sector accelerated further. Bottom line, outstanding volumes were up 0.3% qoq / 2% yoy. In Q4, foreign-owned banks and Landesbanks surprisingly benefited strongly. Corporate bond issuance and leasing reached new records in the full year; stock issuance collapsed to a new historic low though. The German economy grew solidly in Q4 (GDP +0.4% qoq). Particularly construction and public consumption performed well, whereas net exports and investment again contributed negatively. GDP expanded 1.9% in the full year, but growth may slow in 2017 (+1.1%), driven in part by higher energy prices and elevated global political uncertainty (available only in German). [more]
Bundestagswahl 2017
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