Angela Merkel, the German opposition Christian Democrat leader, has promised that initiatives to cut unemployment would ?be at the centre of my thoughts and actions?. Laudible ideals, delivering on them may prove rather more difficult than Ms Merkel imagines. Still, she is focusing the debate on the relevant areas:
Mrs Merkel acknowledged that Germany was one of the most expensive countries to do business. ?We have to be better [than competitors] to the same extent that we are more expensive [than them]?, by being ?quicker and more flexible?. She said ?globalisation is now the context in which our ideas of democracy and of a social market economy must prove themselves?.
Policy priorities would include measures to reduce government debt and to cut non-wage labour costs paid by employers as social security contributions, in part by introducing a new tax-funded health insurance system. Labour market measures would include a loosening of job protection rules and more decentralised collective bargaining.
In fact they are so relevant and to the point that it is hard to see Schr?der disagreeing with them. Interesting campaign in prospect.