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Germany Monitor

In the "Germany Monitor" series we address political and structural issues which have great significance for Germany. These include commentaries on elections and political decisions, as well as technology and industry issues, and macro-economic topics which go beyond the business cycle matters addressed in "Focus Germany".

6 Documents
September 14, 2018
Region:
1
Since the last corporate tax overhaul in 2008, the need for reform has been continuously building in Germany. Given the ongoing criticism of Germany's current account surpluses, a reduction in corporate taxes would be a strong signal to provide new impulses to the sluggish domestic investment activity, thereby addressing a key issue of the current account discussion. The international trend towards lower tax rates also needs to be addressed, if Germany is to retain its competitiveness as a site for investment, innovation and jobs. [more]
February 8, 2018
Region:
2
The four-month deadlock following the inconclusive German federal elections was brought closer to its end with the coalition agreement between the CDU/CSU and the SPD. The last hurdle to Merkel's re-election is now the SPD membership ballot which is expected to give its approval, though at a thin margin. The agreement foresees significant investment in infrastructure and education but caters too much to permanent spending on social and pension policy given the largely cyclical nature of the budgetary leeway. Europe is supposed to take centre stage in the would-be coalition's policy – a signal which matters for Martin Schulz but less so for the member ballot and the German voter. The coalition commits itself to the transformation of the ESM and more spending on Europe but the red lines will only emerge when the details will be tabled. Surprisingly, the SPD will hold most of the major portfolios in the cabinet. With the foreign and the finance ministry the SPD got hold on the key portfolios for shaping the European policy course, although the key decisions will still be left to the chancellor. [more]
November 13, 2017
Region:
3
Employment in Germany has been rising for years now. However, cyclical tailwinds increasingly hide structural problems, such as tighter regulation and demographic developments. If the labour market is not to become a major obstacle to German growth, the future government will need to take quick and decisive action to counteract existing and imminent imbalances on this key market. Reducing long-term unemployment will require a mix of policy measures. The total number of jobs would probably be significantly lower, if there was no low-wage sector. Integrating refugees and the “mismatch” between the qualifications desired by employers and the qualifications which unemployed people actually possess are major challenges. Which direction is the new German government going to take in labour market policy? [more]
August 28, 2017
Region:
4
Since 2010, the German government’s tax revenues have gone up by one third to EUR 706 bn. On the face of it, Germany is a low-tax country, with a tax-to-GDP rate of 22.9%. The picture is misleading, however, because the German welfare state is largely funded by additional taxes, i.e. social security contributions. The overall tax burden on German citizens is higher than the OECD average and the tax structure in Germany is unfavourable. It would appear to make sense to flatten out the steep trajectory of rising marginal income tax rates for people in the lower and mid-range earnings brackets. Germany’s political parties are pledging to reform income tax in order to appeal to median voters and their core support. Overall, the amount by which the burden on taxpayers would be eased varies substantially across the parties. [more]
July 17, 2017
Region:
5
The debate over welfare policy in Germany appears to be paradoxical. Albeit steadily rising social spending, some critics believe that there is a social imbalance. But social security continues to have a positive impact while the welfare system is benefiting from the positive economic development. A further expansion of the welfare state is in the cards given not only the demographic trend but also the parties’ proposals in the current election campaigns. Sustainability of the welfare system is playing second fiddle only despite the fact that already taxpayers are burdened with avoidable costs. [more]
May 10, 2013
Region:
6
Demographic change has come far as an issue for medium-sized businesses. When it comes to the necessary investments, for example in further training, large family businesses are more advanced than small and medium-sized enterprises. Even though there is no threat of a general deficit in candidates for succession in the foreseeable future, succession arrangements need to be prioritised in many businesses as the number of companies ready for transfer is set to rise. Regardless of whether family succession or an external solution is chosen, transfers are often associated with significant risks. The economic and financial position of the company, the market environment and financial conditions play just as much a role as the motivation, interests and values of those involved. Given the complexity of the transfer and its huge importance in the company's history, experts recommend transfer management in which all the necessary steps are planned and implemented at an early stage. [more]
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