Start Germany „It’s important to let new forces out“

„It’s important to let new forces out“

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What does employer president Ingo Kramer think about Angela Merkel leaving as CDU chairman? He congratulates her on initiating the change herself. He also considers the suitability of the potential successor in an interview with the editorial network Germany.

Mr. Kramer, Angela Merkel resigns as CDU boss. Is this a political turnaround – with big consequences also in economic, labor market and social policy?

We live in a time of great upheaval – from national to international politics to the economy. What the CDU is currently experiencing is available in every medium-sized company. I turned 65 this year, resigned and handed over the leadership of the company to my son, who now manages it with his colleagues on the board.

So nothing special?

Angela Merkel is the first at the head of a German government, which initiates and organizes such a change itself. I say: Chapeau! Even if you yourself have been very successful, it is important to let new forces into the air so that they come up with fresh ideas.

What qualities should the next CDU chairperson bring?

We employers naturally want a person with economic expertise, appropriate experience and empathy for the concerns of companies and their employees. In addition, the ability to integrate politically dissenters is imperative. Only in this way can necessary majorities be formed in the social market economy.

So who would you prefer?

Of the three promising candidates, two of us know that they bring experience and empathy to the economy. This is Mr. Merz. Nobody will suggest that he does not know how to advance economic processes. Ms. Kramp-Karrenbauer has made a good connection to the economy from her many years as prime minister, especially in the internationality of the German-French border region. Mr Spahn was Parliamentary Secretary of State in the Ministry of Finance – this should also promote economic policy expertise.

And who is doing the race?

The decisive factor will be who will succeed in persuading the vast majority of the multi-layered CDU beyond their own circles. Only this ability also creates government majorities for economic thinking.

Would you bet that the federal government will survive the next year?

I do not bet on something like that. However, given their poll numbers, I also do not know why the Union or SPD should leave the coalition and risk new elections. Maybe they manage to just govern and return to work.

Can the FDP allow itself to refuse once more to a Jamaican coalition?

The FDP is governed and should not shy away from government responsibility. Especially from the FDP I have the expectation that she also thinks entrepreneurially. An entrepreneur has the courage to act – even if it is not certain that everything is going perfectly. And he sees opportunities first, not risks.

Economic growth is slowing. Is the boom in the job market over now?

There is no evidence that unemployment could increase. The German economy will create around 500,000 new jobs in 2019. But it is true: growth forecasts are declining. One reason for this is already the shortage of skilled workers. We do not have it in all regions alike, but in almost every industry. The warehouse worker is just as lacking as the computer scientist. The skills shortage is the biggest long-term risk to our economy that we can face, as opposed to many external risks.

How soon does the government have to deliver the Immigration Act?

I expect a Cabinet decision in December or at the latest in January 2019. Important is: It is not just about getting the academician or already trained professional in the country. The law also has to make it possible to recruit people whom we only train to become skilled workers in Germany, since there is no comparable vocational training worldwide, but professional experience.

The dispute over a „lane change“ for rejected asylum seekers is just a side-battleground for you?

This is a politically charged term. Most who come are under 25 years old and are learning the German language relatively quickly. And if they prove themselves in education and their first years of work, they already have the chance today to stay in Germany permanently. I appeal to every foreigners authority to apply the existing regulations for well-integrated employees. It is important to apply for a residence permit in time. This is possible with the existing legal situation.

With the parity in the health insurance contributions and the higher care contribution, the companies will be burdened by billions in the coming year. What consequences will this have?

We employers criticize in social policy that a long-term concept is missing. What the Grand Coalition is doing is the principle ‚After me the deluge‘. Due to the demographics threatens to tilt between 2020 and 2025, the system. We therefore need forward-looking solutions for our social systems that bear despite the demographic development. But that is only possible if we do everything in our power to have 45 million gainfully employed people in Germany in ten years or more. Overall, social contributions will remain below 40 percent in the long term, otherwise jobs and growth are in danger.

What do you think of the proposal of the Federal Minister of Health, childless people should in future pay higher contributions for pension and long-term care insurance?

This is already the case in long-term care insurance, and pension insurance already benefits parents to a considerable extent and rewards periods of child-rearing.

The Federal Cabinet meets on Wednesday for a digital retreat. Has politics overslept the topic?

No, I would not say that. There is no lack of insights, but it takes the courage to implement. Digital workplaces are no longer tied to space and time. That’s the essence of this technique.

What follows?

We have to seize the opportunities offered by digitization. But for that we need the necessary leeway: One and a half years ago, Andrea Nahles once said the sentence that in Industry 4.0 you can not win with the labor order of Industry 2.0. She is right! Reflection and the constant warnings of change do not continue, but prevent the exploitation of opportunities for our economy.

You question the complete right to work time?

It’s not about making the 40-hour suddenly a 60-hour week. That would be crazy! But: The distribution of working time in the week should be allowed to undertake jointly companies and employees, as the EU regulation already provides today in contrast to our old daily working time rule. We have been fighting for that for a long time. Working time regulations must be adapted to the actual conditions in the company. We expect that the federal government will quickly tackle the model projects for more flexible working hours announced in the coalition agreement.