|Veranstaltung:||44. Bundesdelegiertenkonferenz Bielefeld|
|Tagesordnungspunkt:||WKF Wirtschaft, Klima, Finanzen|
Sustainable management for sustainable prosperity - Establishing the framework for the social-ecological market economy
Our economic system and our understanding of prosperity are facing dramatic changes. This is
much more than an economic downturn that follows boom years. Many of today's structural
incentives for production, trade and consumption present us with ecological problems of
dramatic proportions and fuel socio-economic distribution crises. This is a matter of very
An unbridled consumption of nature and resources, dependence on export surpluses,
insufficiently regulated globalisation, the care crisis, lack of investment in the future:
The crises illustrate that our traditional economic model no longer able to function in this
manner. The liberal economist Nicolas Stern has rightly stated: "Climate change is the
biggest case of market failure the world has ever seen."
The enormous gains in prosperity are not reaching too many and inequality is on the rise.
Global corporations that elude national legislation and financial markets rather than
democratic policies decide under what conditions we humans live. All this not only
undermines the foundations of community and increasingly threatens our confidence, as well
as that of many other countries, in democratic politics. It also destroys the economic
foundations of our society. At the same time, global trade conflicts shake the world economy
and the multilateral world economic order. The threat of Brexit is also creating uncertainty
in the EU. This all has consequences. After years of boom, there are signs of a serious
economic downturn in Germany.
Every generation has its task. To redefine prosperity as a question of sustainability and
justice and to align politics accordingly is ours... We must now have the courage to take
far-reaching decisions, to campaign passionately for them across the entire spectrum of
society and not to think despondently, taking only tiny steps. The over-arching goal is an
ecologically sustainable, just and emancipatory world. These three dimensions are the
guiding principles for assessing the sustainability of our economic and financial system.
They are interdependent and must not be played off against each other. We are not blind to
conflicting goals that have to be resolved in processes of democratic negotiation.
Concepts such as "growth", "efficiency", "competition" and "innovation" are currently seen
as an end unto themselves rather than as what they should be: A means to achieve prosperity
and quality of life within planetary limits. But we want to conduct the fundamentally more
important debate about society’s goals to which these means are subordinate. That is how we
want to revitalize individual and social freedom.
Properly designed, we will establish the basis for the necessary innovations to be developed
and made marketable in Europe, thus creating sustainable new jobs in the skilled trades, in
start-ups, in the service sector and also in traditional industrial companies. This also
includes massive public and private investments to counter the immense investment backlog in
our country and to tackle the immense challenges of climate protection quickly and
decisively with productivity and new ideas.
We strive for an economic and financial system that respects planetary limitations and at
the same time guarantees human development - worldwide, across borders and for future
generations. A primary medium for this is the social-ecological reset of the market economy.
This is the counter-model to unregulated capitalism and authoritarian state capitalism. The
common good orientation of property has already been established as the basis for this
sustainable model of a market economy. Article 20a of the Basic Law obligates the guarding
of the natural foundations of life. The social obligation of property in Article 14 (2) of
the Basic Law therefore also includes the necessity of complying with ecological guardrails.
We strive for an economic and financial system that respects planetary limits and at the
same time guarantees human development - worldwide, across borders and for future
The way to this is directed by a Green New Deal. This establishes the new regulatory
framework for fair, ecological and sustainable management. The Green New Deal invests
courageously in the future. It releases new forces for creativity and innovation. It ensures
social balance and should contribute to gender equality. It creates the basis for
sustainable prosperity that is not based on the exploitation of nature or a fossil economy
but focuses on people.
We are convinced that free and creative action by people and the dynamics of fair
competition and social cooperation can create sustainable prosperity and innovative
solutions to problems. If the basic conditions are right, the market economy offers the best
conditions for social-ecological economic activity. The forces of markets and capital can be
impressive - they have fundamentally changed our societies and our planet in recent
generations. Markets can bring needs and capabilities together in complex societies and many
people have thus been able to free themselves from absolute poverty. Market mechanisms can
also contribute to the solution of some of society’s problems. On the other hand, they can
also be the source of great destructive forces: Incentives for the exploitation of non-
renewable resources, for the overexploitation of renewable resources and for the
exploitation of human labour come at the cost of ecosystems and the global community.
Tendencies toward concentration on markets counteract their positive aspects.
Markets only function with clear guardrails. But these require the entire range of
instruments from taxes, levies and regulations as well as intelligent public research and
funding policy. We want to set the guardrails in the market in such a way that the market
produces sustainable results. Those who do not counteract overriding social goals but rather
promote them through a decentralised search for the most efficient offers for needs should
succeed in competition. We want to shift taxation from the "labour" factor to the
"resources" and "capital" factors and internalise externalised environmental and social
costs, thereby incorporating ecological and social values into corporate accounting.
However, the market cannot be the sole organisational principle for economic activity in a
society. A large part of human economic relations occurs outside of markets - through the
state, in households or in commonly organised sectors. Innovation and the assertion of best
ideas also exist in cooperative systems outside capitalist markets. Production and ownership
can also be organized in other forms outside the market and the state, such as cooperatives.
This requires active promotion of such alternatives and an improvement of the legal
framework for their expansion and safeguarding.
Technological development is an essential building block for achieving these goals. Instead
of blindly striving for technical innovations, we want to design and promote them in a
value- and target-oriented manner. We GREENS want progress that is not based on a mere
number of technical innovations, but on a concrete improvement in people's living conditions
and the protection of natural resources.
A Green New Deal that respects the limitations of the planet earth requires a radical change
of course and a willingness to embrace a cultural change that does not equate development
with consumption, but rather enhances leisure, education, family, community and health.
The task is to align all these allocation and cooperation processes of the future in such a
way that they serve people and nature. Property obliges. The focus of our economic policy is
not the profits of individuals, but the well-being of all citizens and the protection of the
environment. To achieve this, we need a policy that moves forward courageously. If we do it
well, we can use the major challenges now to turn our economies in Germany and Europe
towards the future, the common good and sustainable prosperity. Germany can take on a
pioneering role here and show that human development is possible while respecting planetary
It will succeed
Our aim is that people can develop in freedom and dignity along the paths of their ideas.
This requires an economic system that promotes entrepreneurship as well as protects the
rights of employees, creates sustainable prosperity, aims at global justice, overcomes
gender inequalities and at the same time guarantees justice and security through strong
social institutions. A strong and sustainable economy, strong state institutions and
ecological guardrails as well as a strong social network are therefore basic conditions for
a social-ecological market economy. Economic education for sustainable development is also
needed so as to realize this transformation and to enable people to participate in the
implementation of the goals for sustainable development locally, nationally and globally.
What companies, employees and consumers do not need is a fickle policy that lapses (too)
late into hectic activity to correct its failings. What they need is a sure path into a
fundamentally new world.
For Germany, overcoming era of coal and oil is a decisive, even crucial, moment. The
automotive, chemical and mechanical engineering industries have been the pillars of the
success for the German economy in recent decades, but they must reinvent themselves in order
to meet the challenges of the 21st century. German industry can build on what has made it
strong - and above all on the strength of small and medium-sized enterprises: Its
engineering skills, its creativity, its medium-sized tinkering companies, its social
partnership with the trade unions and its European and global orientation.
The Green New Deal for a new social-ecological foundation of the market economy will be
successful if it is based on a new alliance of work and environment. Without the
participation of employees, works councils and trade unions, without their perspectives,
their immense wealth of knowledge and their impact in companies, it will not be possible to
build an economic order oriented towards the common good. We want to fight for change side
by side with employees.
Many companies are already on their way there. Medium-sized companies are switching their
production to climate neutrality, financial institutions are turning away from the fossil
energy business, IT companies are focusing on renewables and major corporations are
expanding their green product portfolios. Industry is already demanding a convincing,
ecological modernisation programme for Germany. The technologies, innovations and ideas are
there. Politicians have to deliver now. A majority that is still somewhat silent and
becoming ever louder is in favour of a positive, social-ecological vision for society. We
want to convert this into political weight and will seek close cooperation with business
representatives, citizens' groups, student organisations, trade unions and critical
researchers. We will consistently assert ourselves against the forces that stand in the way
With the following measures we want to pave the way for a social-ecological transformation:
1. A new understanding of prosperity
In order to fulfil people's universal aspirations for dignity, freedom and happiness within
planetary limitations, we need a different method of determining wealth. Today's economic
and social system depends on the steady growth of the economy. If it does not grow, the
current system is threatened by economic crises and unemployment, the national budget and
social security system become unbalanced and social distribution conflicts intensify. One
thing is clear: ecologically blind economic growth and the ecological limitations of our
planet are in conflict with each other. To that end, we will decouple prosperity from growth
and, as far as possible, growth from the consumption of resources. Economic growth is not
the problem per se - the associated consumption of natural resources, the overloading of
natural sinks - such as oceans and forests - and the exploitation of cheap labour are.
It is therefore crucial, in accordance with criteria for the global load-bearing capacity
and ecological regeneration and load limits, to establish economic process targets for the
maximum consumption of renewable resources and the marketing of fossil resources. We must
therefore prepare our systems to remain stable independent of growth.
Gross domestic product (GDP) is already a poor indicator of prosperity and quality of life;
it is blind to the social consequences and environmental damage of our economy. For example,
the extraction of resources and the destruction of natural and social capital are not taken
into account at all by GDP. While companies, for example, contrast the decline in own
natural resources with profits and calculate depreciation, the government does not yet do
so. Repair measures for environmental damage also appear as an increase in GDP, although at
best the status quo has been restored and the bottom line is that nothing has been gained.
In the same manner, unpaid care work, which is mainly performed by women and forms an
indispensable basis for our prosperity, is not currently taken into account in the
measurement of prosperity. We therefore propose a new measure of prosperity and a new form
of economic reporting in order to measure not only economic but also ecological, social and
societal developments and to define indicators for them.
We want to use it to more comprehensively measure prosperity in Germany and Europe in the
future and to map progress in the ecological restructuring of the economy over the long
term. We want publicly-owned companies to set a good example and participate in the
development of integrated reporting as pilot companies. In the future, we want to make the
sustainability indicators such as CO2 emissions, which all major private companies are
required to publish in their annual financial statements, mandatory for listed companies to
communicate their financial results in order to establish an ongoing dialogue with investors
and society on social-ecological values. We want to abolish existing exceptions for non-
listed companies and for many banks and insurers. We want to change stock corporation law
and accounting rules in such a way that stock corporations change from the inside out and
focus on long-term, sustainable development. We will obligate stock corporations to adopt a
sustainability strategy. On the one hand, this will create transparency; on the other hand,
it will only make it possible, with the exception of a breach of duty on the part of the
board of management, if a decision serves the sustainable development of the company rather
than short-term profit expectations. The non-financial targets and indicators, like the
financial ones, should be externally audited and certified. In the long term, we want to
ensure that these ecological and social values are priced accordingly and thus have a direct
influence on the economic success of a company.
2. Making the economy climate neutral1
We can change our economies, but not our dependence on an intact nature. From a scientific
perspective, we are on the verge of crossing all the red lines in CO2 emissions that almost
every researcher has warned us about. This would have serious repercussions for us, our
children and grandchildren. We are already feeling the effects drastically today. They
already affect people in the southern hemisphere more, even though they have contributed
least to man-made climate change. Politically, the climate and environmental impacts of our
current economic system will challenge our societies beyond any previous measure.
After years of stagnation, the time has now come to invest quickly and intensively in the
infrastructure that supports a climate-neutral economy and society. In order to achieve a
climate-neutral economy, railways, cars and buildings have to be electrified to a large
extent. Hydrogen will play a central role for trucks, aircraft and ships, as well as for the
steel industry, the cement industry and parts of the chemical industry.
Following on the phases of market introduction and market penetration, the energy
transformation must now move into the third phase, in which it supplies the economy with
renewable energy across the board. It has outgrown its infancy and will have to develop in
the areas of transport, industry and heating via sector coupling in the coming decade. At
the same time, companies must drastically reduce energy consumption, use it more efficiently
and replace CO2-intensive production processes with CO2-neutral ones.
We can rely on the fact that technological and social developments are not linear, and that
we can become more efficient or better in one leap out of the ordinary. And that the market
economy can develop its full innovative power if we set the right political guardrails.
Markets are a powerful instrument; they create and destroy at a rapid pace. They can ignite
devastating crises – just think of Lehman Brothers - and at the same time they can ensure
that within a few years the smartphone connects people even in the remotest corners of the
earth. If the incentives are right, markets can spark a green revolution that will test our
imagination. For this to happen, the state must set the framework through regulatory,
pricing, promotion and investment policies in such a way that the path to climate-neutral
behaviour in a socially and ecologically framed market is legally binding and economically
We want to move away from a system that only rewards short-term returns and instead use
instruments that promote a long-term and socially responsible corporate policy.
Regulatory law means planning security for companies. In other words, the steadfast
stipulation that cars, aircraft, machines and power plants may no longer emit greenhouse
gases after a certain date. Pricing policy creates fair competition because the climate
balance of products becomes part of the price. Climate-damaging economic activity becomes
more expensive, climate-friendly behaviour cheaper. Promotion and investment policy provides
start-up aid for new products and production methods and helps them cross the threshold to
profitability. And by expanding the public infrastructure, it creates the basis for an
ecological economy and way of life.
A climate protection law sets the standard
The climate protection law is the core of regulatory policy. Such a law defines binding CO2
reduction targets and CO2 reduction paths as well as the necessary measures for every
economic sector. It guarantees close monitoring of whether the measures are effective and
provides for severe sanctions in the event of failure to meet the targets. Such a climate
protection law is supplemented by further regulatory requirements. For example, we want only
zero-emission cars to be registered from 2030 and the way to achieve this to be paved by
binding quotas for e-cars. The restructuring of energy-intensive companies could not only be
made more reliable by increasing quotas, for example for climate-neutral steel in cars or
wind turbines and buildings, but - especially in view of the global overcapacities -
companies would also have a competitive advantage on the European market.
CO2 must have a price
For us, an effective CO2 price is the second part of the vital mix of instruments that we
want to make both effective in terms of climate policy as well as socially just. Only in
this manner can a stable, long-term investment framework be established, and market-based
means create incentives to reduce CO2 emissions, to change production methods and to make
“efficiency first” our standard way of handling resources. This is the only way to create
the potential for fair competition on a basis that is transparent for every market
participant. The CO2 price creates justice and also increases competitiveness on the world
market in the medium term - because climate protection is not only necessary, but also a
global trend for the future.
No further tax euros for climate-damaging behaviour
We want to systematically reduce environmentally and climate-damaging subsidies so that
economic incentives can develop their full potential and additional financial opportunities
for future investments is created. In total, these amount to over 57 billion euros in
Germany. We want to finally put an end to government subsidies such as the tax exemption of
crude oil for the production of plastics, the procurement subsidy still granted for new oil
heating systems or the non-taxation of kerosene.
Investments in CO2-neutral industrial processes, especially in the areas of metal production
(e.g. steel, aluminium, lithium), chemicals and cement, usually only pay off at very high
CO2 prices, which are not yet reflected in the European emissions trading system. To ensure
that such investments pay off for companies already today, we want to reimburse companies
for the difference between the current CO2 price and the actual CO2 avoidance costs they
incur as a result of investments in new processes and technologies (Carbon Contract for
Difference). The costs for this can be refinanced via a climate levy that is added to the
end products and applies equally to domestic products and imports. In this manner, these
investments pay off immediately and short-term competitive disadvantages compared to regions
without corresponding CO2 pricing are avoided.
Subsidy policy kick starts transformation
We do not leave the companies to fend for the ecological transformation by themselves and
want to support them. For investments in transformative, CO2-neutral industrial processes in
the areas of steel, chemicals or cement, we therefore want to create better depreciation
opportunities and specifically promote lighthouse projects for CO2-neutral processes and
procedures. The basis for the development of such processes is the corresponding research.
In addition, we consistently align public procurement with climate responsibility and thus
create lead markets that give innovative companies the necessary certainty that their
products will also find a market in which they can start.
In order to promote ecological restructuring and at the same time combat the impending
economic downturn, we will reintroduce degressive write-offs for a limited period of time.
Making plural education and research possible
For an understanding of the challenges of the future, such as the climate crisis, and the
development of solutions, we need a variety of methods and theories in research and
education, as well as critical scrutiny of normative assumptions. In economics, for example,
this means that so-called heterodox approaches - such as feminist and ecological approaches
- are taught and researched much more intensively. We are committed to ensuring that this is
taken into account in the conception and awarding of research and funding programmes. More
research and education on post-growth economies is also an important key to a climate-
Investing in the ecological infrastructure
Above all, investing in climate protection means developing and expanding power generation
from renewable energies and the storage and power grids necessary for this; expanding rail
infrastructure, local public transport, bicycle and pedestrian traffic infrastructure, but
also developing charging infrastructure for e-mobility and infrastructure for renewable
hydrogen. Heating networks, energy-efficient building refurbishment and the replacement of
oil and gas heating systems need support. We also need to save our forests, raise dikes and
create more flood plains for rivers, and convert our agriculture to be climate and animal-
Rail alone needs at least three billion euros per year in order to be able to shift traffic
from air and road to rail. We need an investment programme of EUR 600 million to set up an
electric charging post network. Our "Fair Heat" programme, with which we want to support the
energy-efficient renovation of buildings, is for 7 billion euros a year. These are just
three examples. In total, we advocate additional public investment of 30 billion euros per
Guaranteeing competitiveness, stopping climate dumping
In addition to the necessary incentives, when introducing regulatory climate measures, we
must also protect European industry from possible disadvantages in international competition
with countries without a comparable climate protection policy. This can be done by means of
border adjustment measures such as European climate tariffs, which are also added to
imports, or by means of compensation for raw materials, which rewards recycling and less
energy-intensive materials. Financing the additional necessary investment costs for clean
technologies could also be a way forward instead of continuing to issue free certificates in
Divestment: Steering capital from fossil to green business fields
With a broad-based divestment strategy, we want to ensure that in the future investment
capital finances climate protection instead of climate destruction. Public banks and
insurance companies should redirect investments towards decarbonizing the economy and
immediately abandon climate-damaging economic productions such as coal and oil industries.
We need an EU label for sustainable financial products with strong ecological and social
standards so that small investors can also benefit from the transition to green financing
and invest their money with a clear conscience. To ensure that all investors can understand
whether companies are doing business ecologically, we will introduce appropriate disclosure
New investment guidelines for the public sector, funds such as for civil servant pensions or
reserves of the Federal Labour Office should adhere sustainability and climate protection
criteria. The federal government can provide important impetus to the market for sustainable
investments. To do so, it must stop investing in coal, oil and gas companies that do
business at the expense of the climate.
In order to make climate and social compatibility the basis for decisions on investments and
lending in addition to returns, we need a binding European standard for sustainability,
whose guardrails are the 17 UN Sustainability Goals (SDGs), which can be used to clearly
identify economic sectors that are harmful to society, gender, climate and the environment.
On this basis, all financial market players must disclose the impact of their investments.
Climate risks that are dormant in group and bank balance sheets should be taken into account
when rating agencies and financial market regulators assess them, e.g. through climate
stress tests for banks and insurance companies or through surcharges on capital requirements
for financing transactions involving high climate and environmental risks.
3. Recycling instead of waste: Circular economy as the overarching framework
The ecological transition can only succeed if we are not permanently dependent on more and
more raw materials. In this manner, companies can make substantial savings in costs and
hundreds of thousands of new jobs can be created. In the field of electromobility, for
example, there is great potential to reduce the ecological footprint by recycling lithium-
ion batteries on the one hand and to reduce the need for raw materials on the other. All
that would have to be done is to reform the EU Battery Directive.
Our goal is the parallel development of a functioning circular economy. This is based on
closed material cycles. The cycle begins with the product design. Products must be designed
in such a way that the individual parts can be separated from each other and recycled in a
meaningful way. To this end, we want to create binding specifications in the EU Eco-design
Directive. We want to strengthen waste prevention and recycling through a mix of incentives
and targets; we want to introduce recycling quotas that measure the recyclable materials
that are actually recycled. Manufacturers are to be obligated to a fixed use quota for
recycled raw materials.
The obligation to take back and recycle products such as packaging and waste electrical and
electronic equipment must be extended and strengthened by financial incentives. One such
incentive is the further development of licence fees for packaging into a resource levy,
that simultaneously promotes ecological packaging through a bonus. Take-back premiums for
individual product groups, such as mobile phones, can also be a possible way forward. Our
goal is to cost-effectively recycle or reuse all plastic products by 2030. Finally, we want
to intensify research into recycling processes and the substitution of raw materials.
4. Rethinking social security in the context of ecological-social change
Both the necessary ecological restructuring of the economy and digitisation will create many
new jobs, but on the other hand many jobs will be lost. New qualifications will be needed,
but there will also be uncertainties. The world of work is becoming more colourful and
diverse as a result of digitisation. For social security, this change in work and the labour
market means that it must become more universal. The more diverse the world of work becomes,
the more we need social security that is not based on employment status, but protects all
citizens, regardless of whether they are full-time or part-time, dependent or self-employed,
or even not working at all, especially since there will be more and more changes between
these different forms of employment and more and more interruptions in employment, both
voluntary and involuntary.
We therefore want to develop pension, health and long-term care insurance into citizens'
insurance schemes into which all citizens pay for all types of income. Unemployment
insurance should be developed into employment insurance for all gainfully employed persons,
employees and the self-employed, with the right to further training, which must also be
socially secured, so that people with low incomes, in particular, can also afford further
training. And we want the minimum subsistence level to be guaranteed in all circumstances.
That is why we want to introduce a basic child income, a guaranteed retirement income and a
guarantee device with which we can overcome Hartz IV. This is not only about a social
cushioning of the transformations, but we want to enable people to participate in society in
a self-determined way and to be able to creatively and innovatively shape ecological-social
5. Good and self-determined work - we are shaping the transformation of the working world
Our working world will change rapidly and profoundly in the coming years, above all as a
result of digitalisation. Known activities and jobs will disappear or change significantly,
new jobs and professions will be created. Whether there will then be fewer jobs in many
places or more, nobody can reliably predict at present. It is clear, however, that the way
we will work will also change dramatically. Our work will become more flexible, more self-
organised and more cooperative. At the same time, we are already experiencing new forms of
exploitation, excessive demands and heteronomy. Another major problem is the already
noticeable massive shortage of skilled workers - one million jobs are unfilled. Without
immigration, the number of people of working age will shrink by six million in the next 15
For both developments - the shortage of skilled workers and the changes in the world of work
- education and training policy, labour market policy, immigration policy and integration
policy need to be much better equipped than before. This holds true for the self-employed as
Education for the future is the key
The training regulations for existing occupations must be revised to meet the requirements
of a sustainable society (sustainable occupations). Above all, this means that people must
have the opportunity to further their education and acquire new qualifications. For this
they need money, time and suitable offers. We want to establish a legal right to further
training. Lifelong learning thus becomes part of the public educational mandate. The current
unemployment insurance system will be converted into an employment insurance system. Just as
we have begun to insure ourselves against illness or unemployment in the past two centuries,
we should also establish a guarantee for further training within the framework of employment
insurance in the 21st century. Employment insurance should both finance further training
counselling and secure livelihoods in further training phases. For this purpose, there will
be a training allowance during training phases resulting from the labour market; the
allowance will be higher than the unemployment benefit. For all those who are not entitled
to benefits under the employment insurance scheme, we are creating a further training BAföG
so that no wish for career development fails because of cashflow.
Wherever there is a local employment agency, we want additional education agencies to be
created. The education agencies are central contact points for anybody who is interested in
further education. Employers, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, can also obtain
information from the education agencies if they are looking for suitable further training
opportunities for their workforces or for support. The education agencies are to become the
heart of regional education networks in which employment agencies, job centres, adult
education centres, chambers of commerce, vocational colleges, universities and other
continuing education institutions network in order to be able to offer the best continuing
education and advice on a nationwide and low-threshold basis. In the standard case, the
education agency is organised by the Federal Employment Agency. However, municipalities
should have the choice of organising the education agency themselves, especially if there
are already strong cooperation structures that have developed locally and if quality
standards are adhered to. We also want to continue to use the possibilities of digitisation
for education. To this end, a public and independent digital platform will bundle all
further education and training offers. This will provide new access for people who want to
continue their education. We pay particular attention to people who have to overcome
particular obstacles in order to integrate into the world of work, for example because they
cannot read or write well.
We also see it as our responsibility to take employees with us, especially in the context of
ecological and digital change. In foresight, we want to introduce a new "short-time work
qualification" as an important measure in order to improve the chances of employees and
enterprises in the structural change. The phase of short-time work must be used consistently
for the qualification of employees. We want to closely link "short-time work qualification"
to the social partnership by means of collective agreements and works agreements. This is
because companies, trade unions and works councils can only jointly provide structural
change with the right direction.
Combating skills shortages
The shortage of skilled workers is a problem for many companies. We want to respond to this
by not only focusing on qualification and further training and by further strengthening the
employment of women. In view of demographic change in particular, we also believe that an
ambitious immigration policy is urgently needed. The grand coalition's law on the
immigration of skilled workers does not fulfil this requirement. We want to revise it and
make it less bureaucratic. Germany needs a genuine immigration law with a transparent points
system and the possibility of a “lane change”. At the same time, we are working for an
improvement in working conditions and higher wages in professions that have hitherto been
too poorly paid. These are still, in particular, those with a high proportion of women. We
want to better integrate refugee women into the labour market, in particular, by offering
tailor-made language-learning and training opportunities.
For a fair distribution of care and gainful work
Care work in our society is still often regarded as a "private matter" and is not reflected
in the usual measures of prosperity. This work is essential for living together in our
society and for a functioning economy. The majority of these tasks are still performed by
women, whether in nursing or childcare. A lack of compatibility between family, care and
work often leads to a lack of independent security for women in particular. This is
reflected in the high proportion of women in precarious employment and leads to a much
higher risk of old-age poverty.
Profound investment in good and reliable childcare and educational facilities with
sufficient staff is therefore essential. With KinderZeit Plus, we also want to support
parents over time and help them to increase their work volumes in gainful employment. In
addition, we want to develop a law for more sovereignty over time for working carers and
introduce a three-month PflegeZeit Plus per person to be cared for.
We have major bottlenecks where people care for people: in care, education, childcare and
care for the elderly. These jobs in care work must be expanded and need the recognition,
including financial recognition, to which they are entitled in terms of their social
relevance. Those who take care of other people must not end up at the minimum wage or have
problems to afford housing.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development estimates that by 2030 up to 170
million new jobs could be created worldwide with steady investment in sustainability. The
Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) expects
the number of jobs in the renewable energy sector in Germany to double to at least 500,000
in the next ten years alone. Today, 1.5 million people are already employed in the field of
environmental technology and resource efficiency in Germany. An annual increase of 6.7
percent is expected. For this industry of the future, we need qualified mechanical
engineers, electrical engineers, engineers, sales staff and office staff - from young
professionals to experienced specialists.
Good working conditions
Negotiating good working conditions and a fair distribution of wealth between labour and
capital is primarily a task of the social partners. We want to strengthen collective self-
organisation and co-determination and overcome precarious employment. In accordance with
European law, public contracts should be awarded to companies that belong to a collective
agreement or pay collectively agreed wages. We also want to make it easier to make
collective agreements generally binding. We will facilitate the formation of works councils
by giving special protection to initiators and by considering and prosecuting the prevention
of employee representation of interests as a clear criminal offence.
We want to make the economy more democratic. This applies both to decisions on what and how
to produce and to the rights of employees in the company. That is why we will expand co-
determination within the companies. On the way there, we want the works councils to be more
closely involved in personnel planning and to have a genuine right of proposal and
initiative for further training and job security. Parity co-determination in supervisory
boards should take full effect for companies with more than 1,000 employees and the co-
determination rights of employee representatives should be extended into the supervisory
board for strategic company decisions.
The statutory minimum wage was an important milestone for fair working conditions. We want
to abolish exceptions to the minimum wage, improve control and also ensure that it is really
poverty-proof in future. That is why we want an immediate measure to increase the minimum
wage to 12 euros, so that full-time workers can live off their work. We want to reform the
Minimum Wage Commission and increase its scope for decision-making. In future, the
adjustment of the minimum wage must no longer be based solely on the development of
collective bargaining agreements. Instead, we want to enshrine in law that the minimum wage
must protect people from poverty and can therefore rise significantly above the development
of collective bargaining. At the same time, representatives of the scientific community
should be given the right to vote in the Minimum Wage Commission.
We want to regulatetemporary agency work more strongly; the same pay should apply to
temporary workers from the first day on as to the permanent workforce, as well as an
additional flexibility premium. We want to abolish unfounded time limits. We call for an
effective equal pay law with the right of collective action for equal pay for equal work and
work of equal value. Our aim is to convert mini-jobs into employment subject to social
security contributions and to ensure that contributions are coordinated through taxes,
contributions and social benefits in such a way that gainful employment always pays off. At
the same time, the burden of taxes and levies must not rise by leaps and bounds. And we
argue in favour of upgrading professions that are still mostly practised by women today, for
example in education, care or the health system, and paying them better. We want work on
call to no longer be possible when activities can be carried out under normal working
conditions, for example through the use of work-time accounts.
We want to adapt the regulation of labour to the challenge of digitisation. To this end, we
want to regulate the demarcation criteria between dependent and self-employed employment in
a clearer and more practical way and redefine the concept of "employee". The aim is, on the
one hand, to create greater planning security for the self-employed and, on the other hand,
to prevent bogus self-employment. At the same time, it is necessary to protect self-employed
persons who are not otherwise covered against poverty in old age. In order for this to
succeed, we want them to participate in the solidarity system of pension insurance by
introducing a citizens' insurance scheme. In order not to overburden them financially, we
are in favour of flexibility in the payment of contributions. We will also sound out in
which sectors and areas of self-employment legal protection mechanisms such as minimum fees,
fee regulations and pay-as-you-go procedures are necessary and practically possible. At the
same time, we are committed to ensuring that the principles of planning security, minimum
income and social security are taken into account when public authorities award contracts to
Digitisation offers great potential to further reduce working hours, better reconcile them
with other spheres of life and redistribute work, both gainful and care-related. It is
particularly important to us that there is also a fairer division of gainful and care-
related work between the sexes. Digitisation will also make it easier for employees to work
from home or on the move in different places (coworking spaces, etc.). We will introduce
rules for a right to home office and mobile work, taking into account that there are
professions where this is not feasible.
Home office and the possibility of working on the move can contribute to a better
reconciliation of family and career. However, neither may lead to career opportunities being
impaired or to a disconnection from the rest of the workforce, or from operational processes
or further training measures. Employees in the home office, on the road or at changing
places of work (coworking spaces, etc.) must be protected with regard to occupational safety
just as much as when working at a permanent company site. There must be no compulsion to
work at home or on the move. When work fits better into life, employees are more productive,
less stressed and more committed. The growing demand for skilled workers can also be better
managed in this way.
At the same time, automation and robotization relieves us of monotonous and repetitive
tasks. We welcome this as an opportunity to reduce human labour. However, this may not lead
to a further increase in inequality. We want to politically ensure that the gains in
prosperity attained by digitisation are distributed fairly.
We do not need more availability of workers around the clock. To protect health, even in the
digital age we need a limit on the maximum daily working hours and sufficient rest periods
without interruption, as provided for in the Working Time Act. We want to take advantage of
the opportunities offered by digitisation and create more sovereignty over time for
employees, and we call for a selected period of between 30 and 40 hours per week, because
this would allow 30-hour jobs to be recognised as full-time jobs. This redefines full-time
work and transforms it into a working time corridor and distributes work more fairly. Even
in the case of flexible working hours, care must be taken to ensure that every hour worked
by the employee is credited to the working time account. This also applies to overtime. At
the same time, it is clear to us that every human being deserves a dignified life, which is
why in the future we want to decouple the need to secure one's existence from hourly wages.
The right of part-time employees to return to their previous number of hours is necessary so
that they can get off to a full start again in their careers. The part-time work bridge
introduced by the grand coalition exclusively for large companies falls far short of meeting
these requirements. Due to the restrictions, the majority of employees (especially women)
will not be able to claim the right to return to full-time. In many companies there is still
a pronounced culture of attendance in which long presence at the workplace is considered a
special performance criterion. We want companies to develop in a different direction: It is
a great relief, especially for people who look after children or relatives, when meetings
take place between 9 am and 3 pm.
It is also important, especially for parents, that models such as job sharing and part-time
leadership are possible. So that not only those people who are available around the clock
are always promoted, and at the same time those who perform care work, especially women,
still end up in the “once part-time always part-time trap”. As a first step, we want to use
incentives to ensure that companies develop along these lines and also use the power in
public procurement to promote such companies.
We also want half the positions in management positions in companies to be filled by women,
which is why we need binding quotas for women on supervisory boards and comparable
regulations for management boards. For supervisory boards, we demand a 40 percent quota for
all 3,500 listed or co-determined companies and the possibility of sanctions if this is not
adhered to. After all, the quota is not a burden for the economy, but an opportunity to
really get the best brains in management positions. Digitisation also makes it easier for
employees to work from home. We will therefore introduce the right to a home office.
Including employees in prosperity
Improved employee participation in companies can counteract both a shortage of skilled
workers and an unequal development of wealth. It is a way of improving the participation of
the population in society's productive assets. So far, however, we have been at the bottom
of the European league when it comes to employee participation. We therefore want to
significantly increase the tax allowance for the transfer of employee shareholdings. We also
want to create a platform to make examples of successful participation models more
accessible and to provide interested companies with more information.
Diversity as a competitive advantage
Appreciation of diversity in the workplace improves individual participation in the
workplace and promotes equal opportunities and performance. Diversity in the workplace
encompasses all facets: The diversity of the sexes, sexual orientation and gender identity,
the inclusion of people with disabilities, the diversity of cultures, religions and social
origins. Companies with a diverse workforce are generally more productive, more creative and
thus more successful economically as well.
We are committed to strengthening and better coordinating the efforts of private and public
employers. For the private sector, we want to strengthen this through the exchange of
experience and information, moderated and promoted by the Federal Ministry of Economic
Affairs and Energy and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. We are campaigning
for even more companies and public bodies to adopt to the Charter of Diversity. In the 21st
century, we expect modern and innovative companies to assume a modern and professional
approach to diversity: Through diversity and equality strategies, through diversity-based
training programmes, especially for managers, and through clear complaint and intervention
structures in the event of discrimination and sexualised violence. Public service and public
enterprises must set a good example. This requires inclusive, fair and discrimination-
sensitive application and selection procedures. We want to work to ensure that anonymous
application procedures are generally used in the public sector and in state-owned companies.
They lead to more equal opportunities and lower bureaucratic costs.
The prohibition of discrimination must also apply to employees of companies owned by
religious communities. Conduct outside the workplace by employees of a church, religious or
philosophical community, e.g. remarried and LGBTQ people, whose work does not include the
area of proclamation, may not suffer any consequences according to labour law, such as
dismissal. We therefore want to narrow down the exceptions for religious and philosophical
communities and thus make individual rights much more applicable.
6. Enabling a new founding age
Many small and medium-sized enterprises(SMEs) are driving ecological change and are already
in the black with green ideas. They are creating new jobs that will continue to exist
tomorrow. We want to support them with a fiscal research bonus, take advantage of the
opportunities offered by resource-saving and low-emission products and processes and relieve
them with simpler depreciation regulations, simplifications in VAT and good conditions for
employee participation. In regions undergoing structural change, we want to strengthen
regional economic development so that local companies can quickly meet the new market
requirements. Small and medium-sized enterprises in the trades are particularly
indispensable. They are implementing the energy revolution, ensuring professional thermal
insulation is installed and are regional partners for agriculture. In order to make the
trades more attractive again, we are relying on stronger collective bargaining and industry-
specific minimum remuneration. Trade enterprises should be given more advice, support and
assistance in the training and recruitment of trainees. By making a legal claim to a fast
broadband Internet connection, we will ensure that the trades are also online in rural
Promoting female founders
We need a new wave of founders. No good idea should fail due to a lack of equity. We
therefore call for a rapid introduction of unbureaucratic start-up capital, which guarantees
founders a one-off amount of up to a maximum of 25,000 euros, subject to a performance
audit. The start-up capital is to be disbursed as interest-free government loan. The
repayment takes place flexibly and orients itself on the profits of the respective
enterprise. We want to update the criteria for the Exist Start-up Scholarship and take
better account of the diversity of the start-up teams as well as ecological and social
Women are successful founders, but underrepresented in company start-ups. According to the
Female Founder Monitor, only 15 percent of start-ups in Germany are founded by women. At
such a low rate, Germany misses out on a huge potential of innovative companies. As a rule,
public funds tend to reach male rather than female founders, which is why we want to make
the diversity of the founding team an evaluation criterion for the allocation of public
funds. We therefore propose to create a government-funded venture capital fund aimed only at
female entrepreneurs. Ireland has had good experience with this model. After a period of
five years, it should be checked whether the fund had a lasting effect. In addition, tailor-
made training and coaching measures for women seeking to set up, develop or take over small
businesses should be financially supported, as should networking organisations. Such
platforms can be used to learn from each other, to jointly develop and implement new
business ideas or interests.
Every fifth founder, both male and female, has an immigration history. The migrant economy
has become an important economic factor. Throughout Germany, companies run by people with a
migration history now account for around 20 percent of all companies. In some regions of the
country, the figure is significantly higher. They thus make a decisive contribution to
economic development. We want to remove the hurdles in all instruments of business and
start-up promotion for people with a migration background. Funding may not depend on a
passport or personal background; information must be offered in different languages and we
want to create a tailor-made advisory service for the migrant economy.
Through the public procurement of products and services, the state is an important driving
force for the economy. By awarding contracts, the public sector can serve as an active role
model and steering function, strengthen a sustainable economy and promote innovation. We
want procurement procedures to be designed in such a way that the federal government takes
greater account of start-ups and younger companies, new technologies and innovative business
models in its public procurement and tendering procedures. To this end, procurement
procedures must be streamlined and speeded up, including the prompt settlement of public-
sector obligations and speedy decision-making procedures, so that start-ups, with
comparatively short planning horizons, can also assert themselves over established
companies. Requests for tender should also be published in an SME-friendly manner.
We demand start-up centres similar to the French Station F, which provides founders with the
necessary working space. We call for two years' exemption from reporting obligations that
are not absolutely necessary, and we want to enable start-up advice and support from a
single source in "one-stop shops" so that start-ups have time to start up. Spin-offs from
universities and cooperations between founders are to be promoted through better advice and
support. Today's start-up support is strongly tailored to technology-oriented start-ups. We
want to make the existing funding instruments more neutral and thus promote, for example,
socially oriented companies or the creative industries more strongly than in the past.
We want to open up voluntary unemployment insuranceto self-employed persons to a large
extent and ensure that self-employed persons who are not otherwise covered are included in
the statutory pension insurance. And we also need a culture of failure in Germany.
Insolvency law must be designed in such a way that it enables new beginnings to be made more
We want to introduce a European Start-up Pass for the most promising start-ups. This should
give them the opportunity to participate in all European start-up funding programmes and to
receive support from incubators. They will also receive broad support in the form of
information and advice on the legal situation and patents, as well as simplified visas for
foreign start-up staff. In addition to a European start-up visa, foreign start-ups are to be
offered advice and financial support so that they can settle in Europe.
Making administration more efficient and cooperative
At the same time, public administration can become more innovative and cooperative. We
therefore call for a German GovTechprogramme based on the Danish model. Our goal is complete
electronic processing in the administration. This saves companies, citizens and the
administration a lot of time and money.
We want to align regulations consistently with the protection of ecological and social
protection goals. In particular, we want to relieve smaller companies and SMEs of
unnecessary regulation. We want to completely suspend certain regulations for the start-up
phase of a company. We want to speed up approval procedures. The decisive factor here is to
provide for participation procedures at an early planning stage and to provide the
authorities with sufficient resources (e.g. personnel) for rapid planning.
We can not only be technologically excellent, but also be able to transform breakthrough
technologies into new business models, markets, services and products. Funding opportunities
and networks for start-ups and young companies can make the difference between a good idea
on the flipchart and a globally successful company.
Start-up funding needs start-up financing and strong financing in the growth phase. We want
to trigger a wave of investment in the venture capital market with a public fund for the
future. As a kind of silent partner, this fund will provide young and growing start-ups with
the necessary equity capital. This prevents our start-ups from being dependent on foreign
investors, from being bought up and from having their technological know-how transferred
abroad. We want to provide companies with subsidies in the form of equity capital wherever
possible. If start-ups are sold at a later date, the funds will be paid for by the buyer.
The fund is to be provided with equity capital and then borrow further capital cheaply on
the financial market. Its profits are to be invested in their entirety to increase the
company’s own capital. The future fund is to be managed politically independently. Our
independently managed citizen fund for a stable and profitable investment opportunity should
be able to invest in the future fund and also be able to finance other investments in the
venture capital sector. By separating the future fund from the citizens' fund, we prevent
problematic conflicts of interest between industrial policy objectives and the citizens'
Crowdfunding can also - especially if reward-based - open up new sources of financing for
young companies. We want to ensure that public funding for start-ups and research can be
combined with crowdfunding.
Good conditions for good ideas are also created by the European internal market with over
500 million people participating. The EU venture capital market is currently fragmented into
many small national markets. We want to coordinate and harmonise national support
instruments. In particular, we want to set up European venture capital funds that focus on
financing innovations in strategic areas such as resource efficiency, IT security or
administrative modernisation (Govtech). The structures should be set up in such a way that
not all member states have to participate immediately, but individual member states can also
join forces for such venture capital funds.
In doing so, we also want to create incentives to enhance not only the ecological potential
of digitisation, but also its social potential. Start-ups and digital ecosystems can help us
achieve environmental and social goals through new technologies and business models. We
GREENS want technological progress that can be measured by its ecological and social effects
7. Becoming digital no. 1
Digitisation holds enormous potential for greater resource efficiency and the minimisation
of transport routes and storage through the establishment of decentralised production and
supply structures. Global networking and the free exchange of production knowledge for the
manufacture of welfare-boosting products and services are also crucial. We want to promote
this exchange of knowledge in a targeted manner.
At the same time, digitisation is presenting us with enormous challenges due to the expected
high consumption of energy and rare resources. Without fundamental intervention in the
current production pattern, digitisation will intensify the overexploitation of nature and
society – super activism on speed.!
The digital transformation must therefore be shaped socio-ecologically. To this end, the
influence of multinational oligopolies must be limited in favour of self-determination and
local entrepreneurship. We want to support countries that are not yet industrialized to use
the possibilities of digitisation to skip over the early phase of industrialisation as far
We advocate a policy of European technological sovereignty and call for a strong European
digital infrastructure. Instead of having to choose between Amazon or Alibaba for cloud
services, for example, we want to build our own European cloud infrastructure. This should
provide our companies with an efficient and secure alternative to American and Chinese
Our priority here is to strengthen the European semiconductor industry - a key technological
sector. We are intensifying cooperation in the area of research and development at the
European level and strengthening the clusters on a sustainable basis. Particular attention
must also be paid to the reuse of resources. In Eastern Germany, we have one of the largest
semiconductor production sites in Europe. We want to build on this strength by promoting the
research and development of ultra-efficient chips and strengthening the microelectronics
cluster in Dresden.
Diversity and openness rather than digital monopolies
Digitisation has produced data-based platform business models with a tendency towards
monopoly. Competition and modern consumer protection require that the principles of
interoperability - as we know them from mobile telephony - also apply to online services.
What is now taken for granted for telephone, SMS and e-mail, for example, must also be
guaranteed for messenger services or social networks, namely being able to communicate and
switch easily between providers and platforms.
Large digital corporations must also comply with European regulatory law. That is why we
advocate fair taxation of large digital corporations, which has so far been prevented by the
Infrastructures are a public task. This principle, which is taken for granted in electricity
networks or roads, must be renegotiated in the digital domain. If, for example, Google
exploits its dominant position in mobile phone operating systems or Amazon its dominant
position in sales via the marketplace, we must put a stop to this. We will protectlocal
retailers from unfair dumping competition from Amazon and Co. The goal is to make privatized
marketplaces accessible to the public again. We will also regulate the fees for platforms
with far-reaching market power so that the profits of small companies cannot be siphoned off
by the platform operators.
Google and Facebook now dominate the online advertising market. Hardly any company can
afford not to advertise its own products online via them. Such an oligopoly must be
regulated. We want to create a legal basis for online advertising in Europe.
Standardizing the data-driven economy
We want to create a uniform European legal framework for data-driven business models. Data
is a key resource in the digital world, especially for technologies such as artificial
intelligence. We want to leverage these resources and advocate the anonymous provision of
public data in order to create new innovations and business models. Open data is the primary
prerequisite for start-ups, companies and research institutions, but also civil society, to
be able to use this wealth of data for the development of innovative technologies and the
provision of public services. The federal government has a leading role to play here that it
has not yet assumed. It must set an example and lead the way in innovations and new
technological solutions in the public sector.
However, we must also ensure that anonymous data cannot subsequently be assigned to
individual persons by linking to other information. As long as this cannot be guaranteed,
there must be no further obligations for the exchange of data. Under no circumstances should
deanonymised data become the basis of business models or government forecasts, because this
would deeply interfere with people's fundamental rights. To that end, we want more research
and standard setting on the anonymisation of data and on the use of synthetic data, as well
as clear regulations against deanonymisation, which also include prohibitions under criminal
Particularly in the industrial sector, new approaches are needed to ensure the legally
secure cooperative use of non-personal or non-personal data, for example from development
and manufacturing processes, especially in the interests of small and medium-sized
enterprises. This can be achieved by creating clear legal requirements for cooperative and
decentralised data pools and data trust models, which are organised on a fiduciary basis in
accordance with clear legal requirements and enable a joint use of this data that can be
verified by the antitrust authorities. We want to develop appropriate options for fiduciary
models or approaches for data donations, for example from individuals, as soon as possible
together with the relevant players and initiate the first model projects.
We want to counter the reality of global data monopolies of a few corporations and the
escalating digital monitoring and evaluation of data by government agencies with tight data
protection controls and international regulation. Just as we were able to strengthen our
European legal framework in the digital world with the General Data Protection Regulation,
which others must adhere to, we also want to establish ethical, social and security policy
principles for intelligent machines and algorithmic decision-making systems at the EU level.
These include rules regarding liability, transparency, non-discrimination and verifiability
of algorithmic decisions as well as essential IT security standards.
Using IT for green goals
We want to use digitisation to further combine economy and ecology. Digitisation creates
enormous opportunities for eco-efficiency and recycling. To that end, we want an EU funding
programme that is exclusively dedicated to the ecological potential of digitisation and
promotes eco-efficiency in companies. Digitisation can contribute to the ecological
transformation of our society. If we do not act, however, there is a risk that digitisation
will become a driver of the climate crisis and environmental destruction. At present,
valuable raw materials are increasingly being used for digitisation, and the energy
requirements for digital processes are growing massively every year. According to experts,
digital energy demand will exceed global energy production by 2040 unless we change course.
As part of the energy system transformation, we want to promote low-energy IT technology and
launch a European "Green IT" strategy. We are also committed to green IT criteria for public
procurement and a label for energy-efficient, sustainable data centres. Digitisation in
particular also offers considerable potential for climate protection and for saving
greenhouse gases and resources.
By 2030 digitisation alone could reduce global CO2 emissions by 20 percent compared with
current forecasts. Studies estimate energy savings of 15 to 20 percent from building climate
management systems. IT-controlled process optimisation could reduce industrial energy
consumption by 25 to 30 percent by intelligently networking machines. We want to make
consistent use of this potential.
For large companies, it has long been taken for granted that video conferencing often
replaces travel by train or plane. This saves time and money, takes the strain off employees
and protects the environment at the same time. Home office regulations ensure that commuting
and thus CO2 emissions can be reduced. With the self-propelled cars of tomorrow, networking,
car sharing and additional flexible public transport services, especially in rural areas,
offer the opportunity to replace many individual travels with cars. Digitisation can support
the energy revolution in the form of intelligent networks or help to optimise transport
chains and prevent empty transports, for example.
IT-security for industry
We urgently need a comprehensive package to strengthen the IT security of our industry. This
includes the establishment of a European research network for IT security, in which the
National Research Centre in Darmstadt will become an integral part in order to promote the
development of technologies and industrial capabilities in the field of IT security. In
addition, we want to introduce an EU-wide certification system for products and services
recognized in all member states, as well as comprehensive consulting services.
8. Developing tomorrow’s technology
In order to lead Germany into the future as a business location, we must also set the right
framework conditions for research, development and education. Innovations are created in
ecosystems that are characterised by cooperation, trans- and interdisciplinarity and
creativity. The aim is to promote cooperation, to break up work in isolated specialist
communities, to share knowledge and to move seamlessly from invention to implementation.
We therefore call for more research platforms in which universities, independent research
institutes, civil society organisations, individual interested parties and companies in
particular can participate, cooperate with each other, exchange knowledge and develop
creativity. In addition, real laboratories and experimental spaces in research are a
suitable instrument for jointly developing ground-breaking new innovations and testing their
implementation. “Horizon Europe" will be strengthened to promote inter- and
transdisciplinary research. In addition, a separate funding line is to be set up for the
development of new technologies and technology assessment.
Every technology in use today is based on publicly-funded basic research. In Europe and
Germany, too, the public sector should invest massively, especially where markets fail: In
high-risk research, public infrastructure, leapfrog innovations. For this task of the
century, German and European funding programmes must become more ambitious, less risk-averse
and agiler. For us this is a matter of a targeted, proactive and entrepreneurial state that
takes entrepreneurial risks and, as a lead investor, creates an innovation-friendly
environment, for private companies and their ideas as well.
We attach particular importance to the freedom of research and teaching. Universities and in
particular basic research do not function according to entrepreneurial logic. Disruptive
innovations in particular can profit from this. Basic research without a view to direct
(economic) usability is just as important and necessary as research programmes on pressing
social issues. This is why we are committed to solid basic funding and democratic self-
organisation of universities as well as scientific freedom.
Investing in technologies of the future and the digital infrastructure
European cooperation is a prerequisite for meeting the challenges of the 21st century with
regard to technology and societal change in the context of the climate crisis. We therefore
want to again invest intensively in Europe as a location for knowledge and innovation and
increase the funds of the forthcoming European Research Framework Programme to 120 billion
euros. In doing so, we want to establish a powerful follow-up programme to “Horizon 2020”
that promotes basic research and scientific freedom in an interdisciplinary and
transdisciplinary way, knowing full well that a society needs technical and orientation
knowledge in order to successfully cope with the future.
It therefore remains a mistake that the federal government has not accepted and seriously
pursued the proposals made by the French President to establish a European agency for
leapfrog innovations and a Franco-German AI centre. Instead, the grand coalition has
established a national agency for leapfrog innovations. We demand that this should now at
least be closely interlinked with the European institutions and initiatives. In addition,
the planned 500,000 euros in funding for a virtual Franco-German AI network are far too
little to bring together the best researchers and actually establish synergies.
A fast network is the basis for everything - industry, mobility, agriculture, digital
management, participation, economic success. For companies, broadband expansion is a strong
factor in location. And it is often the rural regions in particular that are cut off from
the fast Internet. We are a long way from the nationwide basic service promised by the
federal government. There are considerable gaps in investment for the digital infrastructure
for fibre optics and 5G mobile communications.
We are guided by the supplier principle in the establishment of the 5G networks. We
therefore call for the publication of the results of studies already carried out on the
effects of 5G financed in whole or in part by public funds and call on companies to publish
their own studies in full. We support the review and, if necessary, development of suitable
test and measurement procedures on the effects of high-frequency transmitters and receivers
above 20 GHz and the establishment of binding limit values by the Federal Office for
Radiation Protection. We are committed to EU-wide coordination on these issues and call for
as uniform a procedure as possible in the member states.
We need solid financing to ensure that the fibre optic roll-out moves ahead quickly and that
fast Internet access is available to every building (FTTB) in the country. To this end, we
want to set up public broadband companies for fibre-optic expansion in rural areas, to which
the federal government will contribute at least the proceeds from the sale of its Telekom
shares. In addition, when it comes to network regulation, especially new frequency tenders,
we will ensure that network operators sign hard commitments to supply even remote rural
New paths in research and development
We need a strong science to solve the questions of the future. That's why we want to support
science in digitising. The free accessibility, lucidity and comprehensibility of knowledge
is a central building block for an innovative economy that is at the same time oriented on
the common good. We want to promote free content (in research and teaching), in particular
open access publications, and research data (Open Science Data), while taking data
protection into account. We want to promote scientific initiatives, communicate results
broadly to society and facilitate access to and comprehensibility of knowledge via creative
and new communicative channels. In addition to lectures, citizen science and science slams,
(research) museums, real laboratories and public events at research institutions form
important bridges between citizens and researchers.
SMEs are to be given a greater role in the research, development and innovation offensive,
which we want to support through tax incentives for research and development. We also want
to make basic innovations widely available and promote open source solutions for them,
especially if they are developed by public research institutions. We find it important to
take greater account of NGOs and other civil society players in research concerns. To that
end, we need, for example, more real laboratories and a broader public dialogue in
formulating research questions.
A fair design of the international legal system must prevent patents and other intellectual
property rights (e.g. on HIV preparations, seeds or traded knowledge) from being used in a
socially harmful way and hindering economic development. Investments from third countries
must contribute to the development of local knowledge and higher-quality shares in global
value creation. As many as possible of these technologies should be developed in forms of
open knowledge (open design, open source, open data, creative commons) and made available to
9. Equivalent living conditions in east and west, urban and rural
Together we can ensure that city and country, structurally weak and economically strong
regions do not drift further apart. In German municipalities, there is a public investment
gap of 138 billion euros in infrastructure. So much money is lacking in child-care
facilities, roads, bridges and playgrounds just to preserve what exists. Many municipalities
cannot finance this. This means that we do not fulfil our commitment to equal living
conditions everywhere in the country, especially in structurally weak regions, particularly
in eastern Germany.
The federal government and the states should be put in a position to better support
structurally weak regions so that basic regional services are guaranteed everywhere. This
can be achieved through a new joint task "Basic regional services ". We also want to create
competence agencies to support local authorities in planning investments and accessing
subsidies. Support across all regions often means that stronger regions, because of their
functioning infrastructure and administration, are the first to apply for and receive
funding, while weaker regions then lose out. We want to focus support on regions that are
truly structurally weak, taking gender aspects into account when designing basic regional
services. The best support will not help if the funds do not get to where they are intended
to be effective.
We want to align the current funding from its project orientation to processes so that local
projects are secured in the long term and the commitment of local residents is sustainably
promoted. In addition, an old debt fund is to open up new opportunities for municipalities
with high levels of old debt by allowing the federal government to assume part of the debt,
but also by taking the responsibility of the federal states into account, as well as the
fact that some state governments have already done this on their own. The federal government
can finance itself at very low - at the moment even negative - interest rates, and thus give
the municipalities air to breathe again. In addition, we will relieve the municipalities of
the burden of social spending and examine how the states and municipalities can improve
their debt management and benefit from the favourable interest conditions of the federal
government. We want to realign regional economic development and focus more on regions that
have to cope with major structural changes. The decisive factor in attracting companies to
the region is not the money from the state, but an excellent infrastructure and well-trained
local specialists. If there is no data highway, no company will settle there today.
For the Lausitz, for example, this means that you can get to Cottbus quickly from the small
towns, and from Cottbus quickly by train to Berlin, Wroclaw or Warsaw. Fast Internet and the
digital office would make it possible to live in the Mecklenburg Lake District with a
workplace in Berlin. Good rail connections would allow the occasional, fast trip to the
company. We want to strengthen the regional centres and make them anchor points in regions
with a wide range of public and cultural services. In border regions, we also want to make
this cross-border and European. We also want to establish or expand universities and
universities of applied sciences, because they can organise the transfer of knowledge to the
local economy. At the same time, well-educated students bring their own business ideas with
them or are future specialists for the local economy. This can also motivate young
immigrants to move to the Uckermark or East Saxony, for example.
10. Benefiting from the strength of the single European market with a joint industrial
The core of a good industrial policy lies in strengthening one's own innovative strength,
not in defending against competition. Nevertheless, it is important that Germany and Europe
develop fair rules and then enforce them internally and externally.
The European single market is the largest common economic area in the world. No large global
company can afford not to be present in this huge market. We must use the European internal
market to reinforce democracy, the rule of law and fair rules of the game, rather than
allowing ourselves to be divided by national interests.
Anyone who wants to play in the European market must follow the European rules. We have
shown how this works with the General Data Protection Regulation. Either companies abide by
it or they are denied access to the market. The GDPR is now making an international career.
The European Union, as a strong and united player, must develop common standards for a
sustainable economy - instead of being the recipient of the strategic choices of others. If
the USA relies on financial market-driven capitalism and China on authoritarian state
capitalism, then we do not have to decide, but give a European answer: with a Green New Deal
for the social-ecological market economy.
Europe needs a common industrial policy whose core lies in strengthening its own innovative
strength and enforcing fair rules for the economy - both internally and externally. Its
goals and instruments should be geared to the need for a social-ecological transformation of
the economy. In this way, the European single market can become the lead market for the
world, not least because of its size.
An industrial strategy to reinforce innovation and sustainability
An industrial strategy must first and foremost actively promote innovation in Germany and
Europe, for example through regulatory guardrails and public contracts that stimulate demand
for new technologies. In particular, it should support the ecological transformation of the
economy through measures such as a long-term climate protection strategy, a Europe-wide
minimum price for CO2, or the promotion of industrial lighthouse projects with the aim of
reducing greenhouse gas emissions in energy-intensive sectors. Financial markets must be
regulated in such a way that sustainable investments pay off and are not disadvantaged.
European investment programmes must also be geared towards sustainability.
An industrial strategy should also ensure that European forces are concentrated in
artificial intelligence and that public investments are made in European common goods, such
as transport, telecommunications and energy infrastructure. We reject unlawful tax evasion
and tax fraud, because companies must also participate appropriately in the financing of
public tasks. Fair working conditions, minimum social security standards and European
reinsurance for national unemployment insurance systems must also be part of such a social-
ecological industrial strategy.
Combating biases in competition
A European industrial strategy must ensure fair competition on the European market vis-à-vis
state-subsidised monopolists from China and unregulated digital corporations from the USA,
for example by further developing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy instruments, reforming the
WTO and sharpening the rules in antitrust law. The European Union must also be able to
penalise biases in competition in public contracts more severely. One way could be to create
possibilities in procurement law to add a surcharge to bids from countries that subsidise
their companies and to take high labour and environmental standards into account even for
non-EU bidders. In the medium term, the principle of reciprocity should apply to third
countries in order to achieve a level playing field. A European response is also needed to
the question of how to deal with the situation where, for example, Chinese companies buy up
European companies and then grant them de facto free loans, thereby distorting competition.
Control of critical infrastructure
Foreign direct investment in key technologies and critical infrastructure should be better
monitored. The new European screening mechanism for direct investment should be integrated
into the German foreign trade directive and applied consistently. Because if we no longer
have control over our critical infrastructure, we have a huge security problem, are
dependent and in the worst case can be subjected to extortion.
Progressive digitisation makes it necessary to better monitor foreign direct investment in
key technologies and to safeguard critical infrastructure.
The new European screening mechanism for direct investments should be integrated into the
German foreign trade order and applied consistently. Secure digital infrastructures have
long been systemically relevant. With a view to the concrete decision on 5G, we note that
Huawei has not yet fulfilled the criteria of the IT security catalogue currently available
and may therefore not be approved, at least in networks that are particularly relevant to
security. The discussion has shown how great the failures of the federal government are,
especially when it comes to the protection of particularly critical infrastructures. It has
shown that there is still an urgent need for clear legal requirements for the use and
verifiability of hardware and software, new liability regulations, the increased use of open
source and open hardware and independent supervisory structures - far away from individual
providers and even for European companies. This is the only way can we achieve the goal of
effectively increasing IT security, reducing dependencies on individual providers and
pursuing digital sovereignty for Europe's citizens and businesses.
Regulatory power for social-ecological goals
We Europeans should also set rules globally and put our entire European weight into the
balance. Anyone who wants to sell products in Europe must produce fairly. Production must be
in line with the Paris climate objectives. Human and labour rights and the protection of the
environment must be respected. This requires trade agreements that make ecological and
social standards enforceable against trading partners and a supply chain law that makes
transparency and human rights due diligence legally binding on companies. We want to promote
the use of new technologies that make the intermediate stages in the production process
comprehensible. For example, we prevent products from being sold whose semi-finished
products were manufactured with child labour in Africa.
Making the Euro a key currency
Hardly any other country in the EU benefits as much from the common European currency.
Instead of celebrating itself as an exporting nation, Germany should therefore invest
particularly in strengthening the eurozone for the benefit and prosperity of all. Europe's
economic strength will depend centrally on whether we complete monetary union. So far, we
have relied almost entirely on the European Central Bank to handle the difficult tasks. This
cannot continue. What is more, a monetary union cannot function well in the long term
without macroeconomic compensation mechanisms. That is why we want a common fiscal policy
for the eurozone, which can take courageous countermeasures during a downturn, stabilise the
economy and finance European common goods. Common budget investments should be used for
European common goods such as climate protection, the expansion of renewable energies,
communications and the Internet, or rail infrastructure. Such a eurozone budget, which
stabilises and invests, should cover at least one percent of the economic output of the
participating states in order to be macroeconomically effective. It could also be financed
through Europe-wide taxes such as a digital corporate tax, a financial transaction tax or
part of a harmonised European corporate income tax.
Hardly any other country in the EU benefits so much from the common European currency.
Instead of celebrating itself as an exporting nation, Germany should therefore invest
particularly in strengthening the euro zone for the good and prosperity of all. The
completion of monetary union requires not only a common fiscal policy, but firstly a large
market for secure European bonds and secondly a credible framework for joint crisis
management. For the expansion of the pan-European infrastructure, such as cross-border
electricity or rail networks, it makes sense to create common European bonds that can be
used to finance part of these investments through loans within the framework of the eurozone
budget and, in the long term, even the EU budget. In this way, we can succeed in turning the
euro into a global reserve currency. This is not just a question of economic stability; it
is also a central question of European sovereignty and our ability to act in foreign policy.
At the same time, we want to ensure that Europe can resolve its crises itself. To that end,
we want to develop the European Stability Mechanism ESM into a fully-fledged European
Monetary Fund, enshrine it in EU law and subject it to democratic co-determination and
control by the European Parliament. To combat crises effectively, the banking union must
also be completed. In this way, we can ensure that banks will in future be run in a uniform,
European manner and not at the taxpayers' expense. To that end, we need, on the one hand, a
credible settlement regimen including robust ultimate collateral for the common settlement
fund. On the other hand, we need a common European deposit guarantee. It should be
structured as reinsurance, so that the European guarantee only intervenes when the national
guarantee is overstretched. The German savings banks and cooperative banks can thus continue
to rely on their proven institutional guarantee systems. In the end, Germany in particular
should make a much greater contribution to the good functioning of the eurozone with its own
To compensate for macroeconomic imbalances within Europe and strengthen European demand,
Germany must actively reduce its excessive current account surplus and give its European
partners more room to breathe and must not return to a one-sided and divisive austerity
policy. To achieve this, we in Germany want to ensure fair wages, especially at the lower
end of the income scale, and boost investment. At the EU level, we advocate the introduction
of European unemployment reinsurance as an automatic stabiliser.
11. Fair competition instead of power economics
Competition is the basis of the market economy and the engine of progress. A strong
antitrust law that ensures fair competition and limits the concentration of economic power
is essential not only for the economy, but also for the functioning of democracy. It keeps
markets open and ensures that the best idea prevails and not always the top dog. If there is
no competition, monopolists can make high profits at the expense of consumers and hinder
start-ups in their development. Excessive market concentration goes hand in hand with the
concentration of wealth and increases inequality. And those who control markets can also
exercise political control and determine the rules of the game. The competition law needs an
update. Digital business models change business relationships and competitive dynamics.
Users pay for many services on the Internet not with money, but with data. Network effects
turn individual platforms into giants with huge data resources. They can abuse their market
power to lower data protection regulations, dictate prices to business partners or boot out
We want to strictly regulate dominant digital platforms. If they deny other companies access
to the market or demand absurd conditions, the antitrust authorities must take tough action.
If European competition policy is to meet the demands of the 21st century, we need an
independent European antitrust authority with adequate resources and personnel. Under the
umbrella of this cartel office, a European digital supervisory authority is to be
established which functions as a political early warning system for critical concentrations
of market power and consumer-damaging behaviour, in particular regulating large platform
markets and natural, digital monopolies, and can impose cooperation and transparency
obligations that have proven their worth by sanctions.
Today, the anti-trust authorities have to prove abuse of a dominant position in order to
unbundle a company. As a rule, this is hardly possible. We therefore advocate that companies
can also be split up independently of an abuse if their market power becomes too great and a
problem for the economy and society. The Facebook monopoly, for example, is such a case. We
want to unbundle Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp again. By transferring the principles of
interoperability, which are now taken for granted for telephone, SMS and mail, to messenger
services, we want to make it easier for new providers to enter the market and spark
competition for the best data protection regulations.
We GREENS want competition law to be applied in accordance with the European treaties.
Environmental protection and the promotion of sustainable development must be taken into
account. The mergers of Bayer, Monsanto and other agrochemical groups, for example, pose
problems not only for competition but also for the environment. The consequences are a lack
of variety, the use of pesticides and the extinction of species.
In addition, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy should be
involved in merger control and asked for a security policy assessment.
If you want fair competition, you have to take effective legal action against infringements.
The exhaust scandal has once again shown how companies try to circumvent fair competition by
fraud. We GREENS want to strictly punish such behaviour, which is harmful to the common
good. We want a legal regulation that makes it easier to prosecute and sanction crimes
committed by companies. The state must consistently enforce its laws and regulations.
Furthermore, loopholes identified in the law should be closed. The exhaust scandal is also
an example of the fact that it does not always do this - because it was made possible only
through years of cronyism between the car industry, supervisory authorities and politicians.
And in order to reveal the influence of lobbyists and interest groups on the Bundestag, we
want to establish a mandatory public lobby register. Those who, as whistle-blowers, uncover
unethical or punishable behaviour in the economy act in the interest of the common good and
need legal protection against sanctions and economic disadvantages. In order for such abuses
to be detected and remedied at an early stage, we also need clear and secure reporting
channels for whistle-blowers. We want to set up such secure and anonymous reporting channels
for digital and analogue data at public supervisory and law enforcement agencies and make
So far there has been no financial compensation in Germany and Europe for those affected by
the diesel scandal. It is often far too difficult for individuals to enforce the applicable
law. Airlines, for example, refuse to comply with compensation claims. Even under our
pressure, we have succeeded in making it possible for the first time in Germany to bring
model declaratory litigation. They are, however, inadequate, because each party still has to
sue individually. That is why we finally want to make class actions possible in order to
spread the risk of litigation over many shoulders.
12. Creating a fair world trade and monetary order
Our aim is to re-regulate globalisation. Recent years have shown that unregulated
globalisation leads to the exploitation of people and the environment and accelerates the
destruction of our livelihoods. The gains in wealth from international trade are unequally
distributed. Right-wing extremists and nationalists use the justified criticism of
undesirable developments in globalisation to propagate a relapse into nationalism. That is
the wrong response. We oppose this with a liberal and cosmopolitan response. Properly used,
a good trade policy can strike a balance between environmental protection, climate
protection, human rights, workers' rights and economic interests. And in that manner
maintain the competitiveness of companies, create justice in the global South and combat
disenchantment with democracy. But we also need a Global Green New Deal. After all, our
economies and our ecosystems are interdependent. In a globalised world, not only are crises
global, solutions must also be global. That doesn't mean waiting until others take the lead.
The prosperous and technologically highly developed countries in particular must pave the
way for a green change on a global scale.
Europe has something to offer with the largest single market in the world - and we want to
combine that offer with a clear call for progressive policy. Access to our markets is only
granted if minimum social and environmental standards are met. This will have a positive
impact on workers worldwide. If governments want to take economic policy measures to comply
with the Paris Climate Convention, the UN Human Rights Conventions or the objectives of
Agenda 2030, these must not be made more difficult or even counteracted by trade agreements
or investment protection suits. Part of contracts should be that all trading partners
undertake to impose a human rights due diligence obligation on the companies operating or
headquartered in them in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human
But for that we need a reorientation of EU trade policy. The Mercosur Agreement, which the
EU wants to conclude with Brazil, among others, is the last fatal example of an agenda that
focuses on liberalisation and deregulation. We criticise the highly problematic corporate
arbitration tribunals in agreements such as TTIP, CETA or JEFTA, which, on the other hand,
do not contain effective mechanisms for protecting the climate, the environment, human
rights and workers or consumers. The burning Amazon shows us this fatal logic more than
clearly, because the trade facilitation for beef agreed between the EU and the Mercosur
states acts like a fire accelerant for the rainforest. We want an import ban on agricultural
products from cleared areas of the Amazon and on palm oil from the Indonesian rainforest.
Meanwhile, more and more European governments are realising that the sustainability clauses
in the agreement are toothless and do not offer sufficient protection for the climate, the
rainforest or the indigenous peoples living there, as there is no effective sanction
mechanism through which trade facilitation could be revoked.
We GREENS reject this agreement as well as CETA and JEFTA in their present form, because
despite individual improvements, they do not fulfil the conditions of fair trade. That is
why we want the German government to work in the council for a halt to the ratification of
the current Mercosur Agreement and for renegotiations with a new mandate. In addition, it is
time for an alliance for fair trade - building on the corrections that have already been
made following extensive criticism, particularly by civil society, and which have also
prompted some European governments to reconsider.
The EU should focus first and foremost on reforms of multilateral trade rules and on a
common plurilateral treaty that establishes global standards for fair, open, gender-
equitable and ecological trade with the aim of making globalisation fair. Bilateral trade
agreements can be intermediate steps. For this, however, they must be open to other trading
partners and designed in such a way that they can be integrated into a global world trade
system. In future, the focus must be on trade liberalisation that has a positive impact on
Strong rules for fair markets are at the core of trade agreements. This includes key
international agreements such as the ILO core labour standards or the Paris Climate
Protection Agreement. Trade facilitation could thus also be revoked if, for example, a
trading partner were to terminate the Paris Climate Treaty or fail to comply with its
objectives. The same applies to violations of human rights and non-compliance with minimum
standards for the environment and labour.
We want to apply the supply principle to the protection of the environment and consumers in
all parts of trade agreements. Parliaments may not be circumvented or weakened by rules on
regulatory cooperation in trade agreements. Fair trade policy gives states, regions and
municipalities the freedom to organise and regulate services as they see fit.
Instead of unilateral special litigation rights for private investors (ISDS/ICS), we
advocate for a permanent international commercial court, before which those affected can
also sue if companies violate investor obligations in the area of fundamental human rights,
social or environmental standards. The underlying rules, which allow corporate lawsuits,
must be narrowly limited in order to exclude for instance lawsuits against fracking bans or
the nuclear phase-out.
Introducing a supply-chain law
To ensure that human rights and the environment are no longer neglected in international
supply chains, we want to introduce statutory regulations on transparency and due diligence
for companies. This means that the EU must enforce traceable deforestation-free supply
chains on a binding basis. For example, if international treaties and obligations are
breached, an import ban can be imposed on agricultural products such as soya and beef from
cleared areas of the Amazon. In public procurement, Germany should set a good example by
purchasing only products from supply chains that are demonstrably deforestation-free.
We want to hold transnational companies operating in Germany liable if they are involved in
human rights violations within their production and resource chains. If companies have
demonstrably acted negligently or deliberately ignored their duty of care, those affected
should be able to sue them under civil law in Germany. The example of France shows that this
is possible. Companies must comply with minimum social and ecological standards along their
supply chains and, above all, these must be transparent so that it is clear under what
conditions products were produced. Wars, human rights violations and exploitation may not be
financed by products sold in the EU. We do not want to see products that do not meet minimum
social and environmental standards on our supermarket shelves. We want a consistent
implementation of the UN's guiding principles for business and human rights.
And we expect the German government to finally participate actively in the UN Binding Treaty
process, which aims to hold transnational corporations and other business enterprises
accountable for human rights abuses.
We demand that social and ecological standards for companies that import products into the
EU be enshrined in legally binding form in all EU trade agreements. For example, we ensure
that smartphones whose raw materials were dug up with child labour in the Congo, jeans whose
production poisoned rivers in Bangladesh or beef from cleared areas of the Amazon no longer
reach the European market. The resulting import restrictions ensure that the market power of
the world's largest single market ensures that environmental and social improvements are
implemented internationally along the supply chain.
Not trading at the expense of the most impoverished
Development opportunities for economically weaker countries must be increased rather than
reduced through trade agreements. These include effective clauses to protect sensitive
economic sectors, permission for export taxes on raw materials, promotion of regional
integration, technology transfer and appropriate taxation of economic activity. Human rights
and development opportunities must take precedence over pure trade interests. That is why a
certain asymmetry in the form of treaties is in the interests of economically weaker
countries, but also in our own interest.
The industrialised countries in particular will benefit economically, peace policy and
climate policy from a stable development in the global South that will give people
opportunities, prospects and education. The economic partnership agreements are
counterproductive in this respect. At the same time, we demand that the EU lower or abolish
its tariffs on processed products from developing countries in order to promote local
production. We want to promote the regional integration of developing countries. And we
prefer the World Trade Organisation and multilateral agreements to bilateral trade
agreements, because otherwise the interests of poorer countries in particular could fall by
Development opportunities for raw material-producing countries
The extraction, processing and use of mineral resources also involves development
opportunities for the countries that extract the raw materials. The disproportionate
consumption of raw materials in the industrialized countries does not give us the right to
disproportionate access. Only fair distribution can guarantee a peaceful long-term future.
That is why we rely on international and cooperative solutions. The extraction of raw
materials is often accompanied by serious violations of human rights. The EU regulation on
conflict minerals will go into effect in 2021 and is an important step towards curbing the
worst crimes. We are committed to extending the regulation, because so far only a few raw
materials have been covered. At the same time, there are also benefits if access to and
trade in raw materials is stable and long-term. The prerequisite for this is that the human
rights, security, environmental and democratic consequences are taken into account and that
standards are set for them. These must start at various levels: in the country of origin,
among investors and companies, in the consumer country and at the international level.
Creating a secure and stable world monetary order
After the international monetary system "Bretton Woods" was abandoned in the 1970s - it
regulated international financial and exchange rate relations - the states were not prepared
to establish a new common order. Instead, the major industrial nations allowed their
exchange rates to fluctuate freely to a large extent, and the international financial
institutions advocated unrestricted international capital and financial flows. Since then,
regular currency and financial crises have shaken the world and, above all, less developed
countries have been repeatedly set back in their development by speculative capital flows.
At the same time, global trade imbalances have exploded and represent a new source of
instability. We want to stimulate an international discussion on a new system of stabilised
exchange rates within the framework of the G20. We are convinced that we can only curb
speculation, promote development and trade and reduce trade imbalances in this manner.
For the world's poorest countries, public development finance is of major importance. We are
striving for a world monetary order that not only enables wealthy countries to finance long-
term investments reliably in the long term. To that end, short-term, speculative financial
flows must be regulated, made more expensive and, if necessary, banned. We must protect
ourselves against speculative attacks on nations and their currencies. This requires global
public institutions. But no short-term successes are to be expected here. Nevertheless, in
order to bring about change quickly, we want the European Central Bank to take into account
the effects of its policies on developing countries and to support them. It should be able
to come to the aid of developing countries that come under pressure from unjustified
currency speculation, provided such assistance is compatible with monetary policy
objectives. For example, currency swap agreements or Article 219 of the Treaty on the
Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) could be used to define exchange rate policies.
Global transformation means massive investment, especially in poorer countries. Providing
these investments in a sustainable, social-ecological and local way must be a central tenet
of the global financing architecture.
The multilateral financial institutions IMF, World Bank and regional development banks can
play a decisive role in achieving the sustainability development goals (SDGs) and the global
social-ecological transformation. We want to grant countries reliable access to financing
for transformation processes. At the same time, the global community must enable burden
sharing for global commons (such as climate, biodiversity, forests) in the sense of "common
but differentiated responsibility". At present, this includes specifically aligning its
commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement. We may not release them from their responsibility
to contribute to a stable, sustainable and poverty-reducing global financial architecture.
In order not to turn the necessary loans into financial boomerangs, an orderly state
insolvency procedure is needed in the event of over-indebtedness in foreign currency. Only a
system that balances the interests of creditors and debtors will lead to an adequate supply
of credit and a sustainable solution to over-indebtedness crises. Current governance and
debt management play a central role in this. Just as corrupt debtor governments may not be
rewarded subsequently for bad investments through debt relief, through collectively agreed
rules "vulture funds" must be denied the right to sue for debts.
We are actively engaged against tax revenues and for a sustainable financing of the common
good. A large number of poorer countries are "net lenders" against all logic - that is, the
money lost to them through capital and tax evasion exceeds the sum of direct investments,
remittances and development payments. We therefore support an aggressive approach against
organised exploitation via tax havens and banking secrecy. We must also support countries in
building sound tax systems.
13. Stable and sustainable financial markets and safe investments
The financial sector should be a central basis for enabling real economic activities and
thus the diversity of our lifestyles. Today, it often does not perform this positive
function. We therefore need clear and effective rules that focus the global financial market
architecture on this task. These include payments, lending, savings, investment finance,
hedging and international trade support. The aim is to safeguard its function as a service
provider for all population groups and to promote the ability of the state to handle
financial services ("financial inclusion").
Banks and financial markets should serve to offer citizens attractive savings opportunities
and finance investments. With appropriate regulations and a comprehensive financial
transaction tax, we want to make purely speculative transactions and, above all, high-
frequency trading unattractive. We want to use unused assets in so-called dormant accounts
to create a fund that invests specifically in sustainable and social innovations, as long as
there are no inheritance claims. To that end, we need a data-protection-compliant procedure
for determining these accounts, the credit of which would otherwise pass into the possession
of the banks.
Locally operating small and medium-sized banks in Germany, and increasingly in the rest of
the EU as well, ensure the supply of credit for most companies. In Germany, the three-pillar
model of savings banks, cooperative banks and private banks has proven its worth. That is
why we want to strengthen the local bank principle throughout Europe. Public banks are
particularly committed to the common good and should play a pioneering role in non-financial
reporting on social, ecological and economic factors. Savings banks should draw up public
service reports and become more transparent with regard to the disclosure of salaries.
Small banks would be relieved of a burden by a regulatory system consisting of clear, hard
but much fewer complex rules. Our European debt brake for banks - an unweighted equity ratio
of ten percent - ensures that sufficient safety margins are in place. Systemically important
banks subject to ECB banking supervision must also build up additional capital that is
geared to the risk of the business model. In addition, all banks are required to make a
higher percentage contribution to the deposit protection fund, taking into account the size
and risk of the bank's balance sheet. Big banks must become smaller. They will no longer be
able to endanger the financial system through an effective segregation banking system, high
capital requirements and a complete banking union. Rescuing banks with taxpayers' money will
then become a thing of the past.
With the possibilities of digitisation, new players can emerge or grow on the financial
markets. For many, they make financial and payment transactions simpler and faster and offer
new investment opportunities. We want to create clear competition rules in which neither
banks nor large tech companies can use their dominant position to hinder unwelcome
competitors or innovations. The introduction of an e-euro offers opportunities for payment
transactions and new, innovative services. This electronic currency, introduced by the
central banks of the Eurosystem, will also serve as a simple, secure and convenient means of
payment for many people in their everyday lives. Private money such as the Libra planned by
Facebook, on the other hand, would not solve a problem, but would potentially create many
new ones. We reject the suppression of small companies by the currency of a corporate group,
the accumulation of payment transaction data in a company that already has problematic data
power and we reject the erosion of the state money and currency monopoly and will not allow
Insurance companies and pension funds are currently experiencing financial problems because
their interest rate expectations have not been fulfilled. The grand coalition has repeatedly
introduced measures to solve the insurers' crisis unilaterally at the expense of clients. We
firmly reject this policy. In the event of an insurance crisis, we will ensure fair burden
sharing between the owners of the companies and the clients. The volume of the Protektor
protection fund is far too small in the event of a crisis. To remedy this, the volume of the
fund must be significantly increased. A European reinsurance system should also be
introduced. Furthermore, we will no longer allow companies to resell insurance contracts
without the client's consent.
Financial advice must fundamentally change. Today, commissions mean that investors are not
recommended the proper products, but those with the highest commissions. With the gradual
transition to fee-based consulting - the client no longer pays the advice indirectly via the
commission, but directly to the consultant, the product being cheaper - the quality of the
advice will improve and the career profile of the consultants will change. As an
intermediate step, financial institutions are to provide contracts with premium calculations
including and excluding commissions.
The financial sector is crucial for more climate protection. Climate risks that are dormant
in corporate and bank balance sheets should be taken into account when rating agencies and
financial market regulators assess them, for example through climate stress tests for banks
and insurance companies or through surcharges on capital requirements for financing that
involves high climate and environmental risks. Public-sector financial institutions in
particular, such as German and European development institutions, but also public-sector
savings banks, must put an end to their investments in coal, oil and gas groups that do
business at the expense of the climate. In addition, government guarantees in export
promotion must be in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.
The European Central Bank can also make a contribution to climate protection. It should take
climate change objectives into account when deciding which assets to accept as collateral
and which to purchase as part of the quantitative easing.
A citizens’ fund for stable and profitable investment opportunities
So that the population in Germany can benefit more from the economic profits of the economy,
we propose setting up a citizens' fund. It is intended to ensure that all citizens, even
these whose incomes are too small to be able to participate in shares, real estate or other
assets, are able to take part in gains in wealth. Every citizen automatically pays a certain
portion of their income into the citizens’ funds. In this way, we ensure a high investment
sum for the fund and thus reduce administrative costs. But those who prefer other forms of
investment can simply opt out of paying into the citizens’ funds. In order to avoid
Riester's mistakes, the fund will not grant interest guarantees because they reduce the
return. Instead, we will ensure security through a broadly diversified, sustainable and
long-term investment strategy. The citizens’ funds therefore offers people who have small
savings a low-risk and, above all, extremely inexpensive form of investment. The economy
will also benefit from this fund. Because there is a desired side effect: The capital is not
driven by an expectation of short-term returns but is committed to sustainable investment
14. Strengthening public welfare-oriented companies
In the field of social and technical infrastructure (health, education, energy, water,
transport), which provides basic goods and services for the lives of citizens, the public
sector has an important role to play. We reject the privatisation of public companies in the
field of public services, and we want to limit the spread of commercial institutions. We
also need to strengthen the public interest orientation of companies.
Many companies are already committed to ecological and social goals. More and more companies
are binding these social goals parallel to their economic success. We will systematically
strengthen this economic citizens' movement. Our goal is to create a wave of new
cooperatives and socially and ecologically inspired companies. At the same time, we also
want to make a legal form of company possible that allows a complete asset-lock, so that the
company is no longer held by asset owners but rather by responsibility owners.
We will systematically open up public financing programmes for business development,
information services for entrepreneurs and advisory services for businesses to all
companies. We also want to strengthen cooperatives, social start-ups and associations that
are economically active.
Companies in the social and solidarity-based economy need attractive legal forms. In
cooperation with the cooperative associations, we want to make a simplified, generally
understandable model statutes for cooperatives widely accessible. We will relieve small
cooperatives of the relevant requirements of commercial law. The revision of the legal forms
should make it possible for companies in the solidarity-based economy to become more visible
and thus better represented in Germany and Europe. In future, social cooperatives should no
longer be hampered by a de facto ban on combining paid and voluntary work. We want to exempt
profits placed in a legal reserve from corporation and trade tax. In this way we strengthen
the equity base and investment capacity of cooperatives. At the European level, we advocate
a label for products from the social and solidarity-based economy. Organisations that do not
aim to make a profit, need inexpensive financing. We want to make this available to social
enterprises, for example through loan programmes from the public development banks.
In this way we support the promotion of cooperative and regional forms of enterprise and
thus strengthen local economic structures. In this way, we promote closer relationships
between consumers and producers and regionalise value chains.
At the same time, the citizens' energy cooperatives must be relieved of their regulatory
shackles so that they can once again become powerful players in the energy shift. We want to
translate the EU directive on the single electricity market into German law in such a
business-friendly way that citizen energy is comprehensively strengthened. In the case of
tenant electricity, we want to abolish obstructive price targets in order to make
decentralised investments in renewables possible.
Many companies are committed to the common-wealth economy. We also want companies owned by
the German government to draw up public-economy balance sheets or to report on social-
ecological criteria integrated into the financial report on an equal footing with the
financial criteria. We want to embed in European and German law an anchoring of social-
ecological balance sheets or the integrated balancing of social-ecological criteria beyond
the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) guidelines. Even today's profit-oriented legal
forms such as stock corporations should be able by majority vote to set themselves other
goals in the future than maximizing profits without being exposed to the risk that minority
shareholders will sue them.
15. Financing investments soundly and fairly
We want to significantly increase public investment. A country in which every eighth of its
40,000 bridges is dilapidated, which invests less money in education than almost all its
neighbours, which is notorious for its dead spots instead of famous for its smartphones,
such a country lives from fading substance. It will take time to turn the political
indications to reason. It is therefore all the more important to start now. Investments
create public goods. They cost money, but if they invest in the right things for the future,
they create prosperity. Every expenditure that the state makes in this way leads to income
in the economy and jobs are created. For every euro, which we invest wisely, our economic
performance can increase by much more than a euro. A stronger investment policy will also be
geared towards intergenerational justice, because future generations will not benefit if, in
a few decades' time, they are left with a black zero, but also with a poor infrastructure
with a massive investment backlog.
We want to finance these investments by eliminating misguided incentives, reallocating funds
and making targeted investments possible through loans. We distinguish between one-off
investments and permanent expenditures. These permanent expenditures, for example for
education and justice, are essential for social balance and cohesion in society. We want to
finance these permanent expenditures through current tax revenues, fairer taxation of wealth
and to combat tax fraud and avoidance.
So far, investment programmes have also failed due to a lack of capacity in the construction
industry or in the planning departments of public services. Our investment policy is
therefore reliable and long-term, so that both the private construction industry and the
public sector can build up more capacity again. We invest sustainably and on a long-term
Establishing investment companies
Many investments create valuable assets with which revenues can be generated. A power line
generates revenue from the electricity that passes through it. The same applies analogously
to charging infrastructure for electric cars, broadband for the Internet and much more. In
order to carry out these investments efficiently, we will bundle them in public investment
companies, use these companies to finance and stringently manage the investments. In this
way we will create sustainable value for the next generation that also pays off
economically, especially in times of zero interest rates and sometimes even negative
The constitutional regulations on the debt constraints provide that the indebtedness of
government-owned companies such as the railways, housing associations or public hospitals
are not included in the debt constraints. The same applies to the new investment companies
to be founded. We will therefore provide them with sufficient equity from the investment
fund to enable them, like any private company, to raise additional capital on the financial
market themselves. The federal government provides a state guarantee for this borrowing. For
example, the federal government could set up a new charging pillar company, allow the
Federal Agency for Real Estate Tasks for New Housing Construction and Building Renovation to
take out a loan and raise the debt limit for Deutsche Bahn. Good governance and democratic
participation should ensure transparency and control. The government must be able to
control, and the decisions and the use of funds must be transparent for parliament and the
public. We want to exclude the privatisation of these companies permanently so that public
assets remain public.
Combining sovereign debt limitation with infrastructure investments
It was right for Germany to set itself rules that would ensure that there would be no
excessive public debt. Together with the monetary policy of the European Central Bank, they
have helped to curb debt. In Germany, the debt ratio has thus fallen from 80 percent to
below 60 percent of economic output. We want to maintain this success.
But debt is not only budget debt. If we do not invest now in education, innovation and
research and in climate protection measures, we will lose our future prosperity. Moreover,
the financial markets, which always need secure investment opportunities such as government
bonds, would no longer function stably if the debt level were to fall because they lack
secure investment opportunities. We therefore want to further develop the debt constraints
within the framework of the European stability criteria and link it to a binding investment
rule. If the federal government invests more than its assets lose in value - i.e. if it
creates new value - it should be able to finance this by offering new bonds. Public
investments should be at least high enough to ensure that public assets move at least in
line with economic output less wear and tear and loss in value.
For Germany, this option is tied to the fact that the public debt ratio is below the
Maastricht mark of 60 percent of GDP and the structural deficit amounts to a maximum of one
percent of economic output, in line with European requirements. These restrictions ensure
that the debt ratio would fall even further. This is all the more true as it creates
additional demand and thus economic development. Particularly in the event of an impending
downturn, we believe that this option makes more sense than flat-rate tax increases or
expenditure cuts, for these would exacerbate the downturn even further. That would be the
opposite of a sustainable fiscal policy.
Our proposal would allow the federal government to borrow an average of around 35 billion
euros a year. We want to transfer these funds to a federal investment fund which, as a
special fund in the federal budget, is not subject to the annual considerations of the
budget. It can then invest for a specific purpose and also have a stronger anti-cyclical
effect. In order to secure and cleanly implement the investment fund, we are striving to
amend the Basic Law.
In order to optimally manage national debt and investments, Länder and municipalities
receive a binding agreed share from the federal investment fund, in which all Länder
participate and can decide for themselves for which of the specified investment purposes
they use the funds.
It is true that the Maastricht criteria also limit public debt at the European level. In the
forthcoming reform, we want to improve the incentives for public investment within the
framework of the Stability and Growth Pact. For example, investment expenditures can be
written off over several years in the calculation of deficit ratios in a similar way to
private investment. In this way, we strengthen public investment, especially in times of
economic downturn. We also support efforts to transform the European Investment Bank into a
bank for investment in social-ecological transformation and are committed to a stronger
European budget. Together, we are making better and faster progress in climate protection,
innovation and social cohesion. In return, we are also prepared to defend a greater German
contribution to this European added value.
1 In our proposal "Action - now", we describe in detail our action plan for radically
realistic and cross-sectoral climate protection.