Bloomberg the Company & Products

Bloomberg Anywhere Login

Bloomberg

Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.

Company

Financial Products

Enterprise Products

Media

Customer Support

  • Americas

    +1 212 318 2000

  • Europe, Middle East, & Africa

    +44 20 7330 7500

  • Asia Pacific

    +65 6212 1000

Communications

Industry Products

Media Services

Follow Us

Merkel Found Wanting as German Business Bemoans Party Platform

Don't Miss Out —
Follow us on:
Chancellor Angela Merkel
The disaffection of business lobbies with traditional ties to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party risks undermining her efforts to build consensus for a platform that will win her a third term. Photographer: Jock Fistick/Bloomberg

May 30 (Bloomberg) -- Chancellor Angela Merkel’s platform for Sept. 22 elections fails to address the most pressing economic policy areas facing Germany and risks sacrificing the country’s prosperity, business lobby groups said.

Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party “badly lacks ambition on tax policy in its platform proposals for the election,” Lutz Goebel, president of a group that represents German family entrepreneurs, said in a phone interview yesterday. The party’s policies on minimum wages and getting more women in senior management posts “avoid what’s necessary,” he said.

Kurt Lauk, president of the business wing of Merkel’s CDU, said that Germany needs a simplified tax system and a reduction in the surcharge levied on all earners that goes toward aiding former eastern Germany. Instead, business has to shoulder the government’s enforced switch to renewable power and the threat of statutory appointments of women to company boards, elements more akin to a state-run “planned economy,” he said.

The disaffection of business lobbies with traditional ties to Merkel’s party risks undermining her efforts to build consensus for a platform that will win her a third term. During a “town hall” event on May 28, Merkel said the CDU had developed 45 areas that members were being asked to comment on before she presents the full election platform on June 24.

Merkel said during the call-in that Germany has to be “very careful” on approval for fracking to avoid taking environmental risks and that voters are also “very concerned that our society be a fair one, that the gap between those who earn little and those who earn more doesn’t get bigger.”

‘SPD-Lite’

The chancellor’s party’s approach to social policy means it is moving on to ground more usually adopted by the main opposition Social Democrats, said Goebel, who has previously criticized Merkel’s backing for euro-area bailouts. The CDU is “attempting to be an ‘SPD-lite.’”

The Merkel government’s single focus now should be on how to secure future prosperity and economic growth, rather than getting distracted by “questionable” topics such as the minimum wage and quotas for woman in top company posts, said Michael Huether, director of the IW Cologne economic institute.

“This government has no overall perspective on the economy, but instead gets caught up in useless little debates,” Huether said in a telephone interview. “Behind it lies the chancellor’s strategy to cover all political bases. But in the end no-one knows where she stands.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Arne Delfs in Berlin at adelfs@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

Please upgrade your Browser

Your browser is out-of-date. Please download one of these excellent browsers:

Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera or Internet Explorer.