Bundestag elections 2017

2017 is a mega election year for Europe. After the Netherlands and France – Italy is now likely to vote in spring 2018 - Germany, too, will go to the polls with the federal elections taking place on September 24. Until then, some second-order polls in German Länder have been held in addition. Chancellor Merkel (CDU) is campaigning for her fourth term with the former president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, as her contender (SPD). Key issues will be Europe’s response to Trump, Brexit and its own centrifugal forces. Domestically social justice and security are likely to dominate the debate.

 

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09.08.2017
German election: stability-led complacency
Abstract: The German election will take place on September 24. Polls indicate a fourth term for Chancellor Merkel but it remains to be seen with which coalition she will govern. The booming economy has fostered cross-party complacency and prevented the necessary debate about how to ensure Germany’s future prosperity.
Topics: Economic policy; European policy issues; Germany; Politics and elections
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08.08.2017
German defence policy: Towards a more integrated security framework
Abstract: Defence policy and defence expenditures have moved into the light of public attention ahead of September parliamentary elections, fuelled by US criticism of Europe’s NATO spending, the experience of the refugee crisis but also regained momentum for European integration. While NATO membership and EU defence integration is supported by the German public, a majority rejects an increase in the military budget. To reach NATO’s 2% of GDP target by 2024, defence expenditures would have to more than double within seven years. Mainstream parties agree that a more holistic security framework is required but they are divided on the details, in particular when it comes to the question on how much to spend for it.
Topics: Economic policy; European issues; European policy issues; Germany; Other sectors; Politics and elections; Sectors / commodities
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03.08.2017
Packed European agenda for the next government: Numerous challenges, no (easy) answers
Abstract: The benign economic and public environment allows to fundamentally address shortcomings of the E(M)U. The next German government’s term is faced with numerous challenges ranging from Brexit and its impact on the next EU Budget to migration and the upgrade of the euro area. A revitalised relation with France provides the opportunity for substantive steps to further stabilise the euro area albeit Germany and France need to find common ground on many issues and seek the support of EU partners. European politics is still less of a topic for the German electorate not least as mainstream parties are all various shades of pro-European. However, the next government’s party composition is likely to matter for both speed and scope of changes on European level.
Topics: Brexit; Economic policy; EMU; European issues; European policy issues; Macroeconomics; Migration; Politics and elections
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20.07.2017
Germany’s fiscal situation: Full employment and zero interest rates result in budget surpluses – but demographic development might become a problem!
Abstract: In an international comparison, Germany’s fiscal situation is very good – thanks to robust GDP growth and zero interest rates. In the short to medium term, dynamic revenue growth should help to ensure that Germany’s fiscal situation remains comfortable, even though expenses look set to rise strongly as well. Public finances are currently benefiting from buoyant growth, low interest rates and a “demographic respite”. Rising interest rates and the ageing society look set to put the public finances under considerable pressure from the middle of the coming decade. However, the long-term fiscal risks do not appear to play a major role in the current election campaign.
Topics: Demographics; Economic policy; Fiscal policy; Macroeconomics; Politics and elections; Real econ. trends
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18.07.2017
Parties not focusing enough on sustainability
Abstract: 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.
Topics: Demographics; Economic policy; Germany; Macroeconomics; Politics and elections; Provision for old age; Social policy
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12.07.2017
Slowing German trend growth does not seem to be a major issue in the electoral campaign
Abstract: The developed industrial countries have experienced a steady decline in trend growth since the mid-70s – and Germany is no exception. The robust cyclical upswing is veiling this creeping erosion of growth. The demographic developments will considerably weigh on trend growth in the medium and the longer term. They will dampen labour supply, capital formation and total factor productivity. By 2025, trend growth looks set to halve again, to only ¾%. The electoral programmes of the established parties incorporate different positions on this key issue, as is to be expected.
Topics: Demographics; Economic growth; Education; Labour market; Macroeconomics; Politics and elections; Real econ. trends
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22.05.2017
NRW election positive for Merkel
Topics: Politics and elections
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27.03.2017
Germany: Impressive CDU victory in the Saarland
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23.03.2017
Who is afraid of populists?
Abstract: 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.
Topics: Brexit; Economic policy; European integration; European issues; European policy issues; Politics and elections
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16.03.2017
Unemployment benefit Q and the elusive quest for social justice
Abstract: 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.
Topics: Labour market policy; Politics and elections; Social policy
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