At the same time, Germany faces immense tasks, regardless of the ongoing mode of war and crisis: converting the economy to climate-neutral production; the energy transition, in which the Federal Republic of Germany wishes to phase out nuclear and coal-fired electricity generation simultaneously and replace them with renewable energy sources.
“Getting rid of Putin faster”
In addition, many companies complain of too much bureaucracy, which stifles innovation, and – even before the war – of traditionally expensive electricity, which is higher in Germany than in other countries due to taxes and duties. The trade associations therefore repeatedly call for a clear direction from the government, which, according to Spahn, is missing at the traffic light.
“Structural reforms were urgently needed even before the Corona and Ukraine crisis, now they are all the more so,” Spahn continued. “But the light is always yellow – you don’t know if you are moving forward or if you are braking.”
Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP), for example, insists on the debt brake, but continues to “take out one promissory note after another”. Habeck continues to reject nuclear energy and thus prevent “Putin’s release from becoming faster”. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) is also acting weak and, for example, prefers to give gifts to his coalition partners in the recently decided relief measures instead of taking into account the needs of pensioners and students.
Four Ideas for Prosperity
Spahn therefore proposes four points to avoid a possible economic slowdown with job losses:
- Reduction of energy taxes: In this way, not only citizens but also companies could be relieved, which would then have more money available for investments.
- More free trade: Germany should accept the EU trade agreement with Canada, CETA, as soon as possible. Moreover, after the failure of TTIP, a new attempt is needed for a free trade agreement with the United States and an agreement with Great Britain – despite the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU.
- Modern working hours: Instead of a maximum number of working hours per day (currently: eight hours, in exceptional cases ten hours), Spahn proposes a maximum weekly working time. Benefit for companies and employees: more flexibility, easier adjustments during peak production periods or less work to do.
- Benefits for innovation: The federal government should create additional tax incentives for businesses that promote decarbonization, digitalization, and structural progress. Spahn: “Otherwise, business investment in the areas of the future and in the jobs of the future will continue to decline.”
It is unclear to what extent the traffic light groups in the Bundestag will respond to requests. With the anticipated abolition of the EEG tax, the federal government is at least taking a step towards lower energy taxes. However, Social Democrats and Greens are likely to criticize the easing of working hours.
Spahn stresses: The Union is ready to “work constructively with the traffic light”. “This is not about partisan tactics, this is about the prosperity, security and future of our country.”