They certainly took their time, but on June 21, the two chairmen of the sister parties CDU and CSU announced the party platform on which the Union is running under chancellor candidate Armin Laschet. The agenda doesn’t fail to dissapoint. A quick analysis.
Security and Unison were the buzzwords that chancelor candidate Armin Laschet used to introduce his party’s program for the 2021 elections. Climate protection has to be joined with economic strength and social stability. Laschet said also that the “social question” is very important to him.
Modernization is another focal point of the CDU agenda, similar to what we have seen for the Greens and the FDP. As an example, Laschet brought up the German reaction to the COVID-19 epidemic, saying that in his opinion in many places the phrase “This is impossible” became history - a very questionable analogy seeing as how quickly the German public health system became overwhelmed with contact tracing, exactly because of the lack of digital tools and personel. Or the incredible delays with every piece of software (contact tracing, digital check-in and most recently vaccination e-certificates) that was subsidized by the German government. If anything, the corona pandemic demonstrated the dire need but not the capability for Germany to modernize.
CSU boss Markus Söder also talked about the coupling of renewal with stability. The Union, according to him, is ready to take a leap, but wants to proceed safely. For example, climate protection is important, but it should not cost jobs. Söder also said that timelines for the agenda will only be defined after the elections and once a “cash count” of the treasury has been performed. This is because he “has increasing doubt” about the numbers provided by SPD chancellor candidate and current finance minister Olaf Scholz (as we can see, communication within the Grand Coalition has reached an all-time low). The CDU party platform would be suited for core party constituents as well as people who are considering voting for the CDU/CSU fo the first time, according to Söder. Söder also attacked the Greens, saying “Germans do not trust the Greens with the Office of the Chancellor. They have a lot of ideas, but no experience.” He added that “green politics are possible without the Greens” and talked about “outfitting Germany with a warp-drive”.
In the following, I will name a few interesting items from the program reflecting my interests.
As for climate protection key aspects include development of the railroad system, establishing Germany as the “#1 country of hydrogen”, promotion of solar power, more recycling, protection of natural waters and re-planting of forests. Naturally for the CDU, the German automobile industry should be promoted in making the transition to e-mobility including building the infrastructure for charging electric cars. The CDU rejects a speed limit on motorways or the banning of diesel powered cars - also no surprises here, I’m afraid. Instead of these, they would like to focus on “innovative, modern traffic management” (whatever this means).
The CDU strongly rejects any tax increases, wants to keep the constiutional “debt brake” (Schuldenbremse, again no suprises). There would be no tax on large fortunes. Taxes on businesses would be capped at 25 %. Tax brackets should be shifted to decrease the tax burden of small and middle income people.
The program includes plans to “develop a concept” of a fourth pillar of the German pension system, a so called “generational pension”. This would constitute a pension fund with monthly deposits from the state, starting at birth to contribute to an individual’s own pension. This capital should then be invested and would not be accessible to the state (this is in contrast to the traditional pension system, where the currently employed are financing the pensions of the currently retired, which is not sustainable in an aging society such as Germany.)
In their foreign policy, the CDU names the US as Germany’s most important geopolitical partner, together with whom the “enemies of freedom” must be challenged. A commitment to NATO is also part of the program. The document calls out Russia for its open threatening of NATO partners, desinformation and propaganda and calls for joint policy within the EU and NATO when dealing with Russia. At the same time, it calls for cooperation and dialogue with Russia wherever there are common interests. On China, the CDU proposes a dual strategy: standing up to China together with transatlantic partners on intellectual property, high-tech and data protection, but cooperation as part of a fair competition.
On immigration, the CDU commits to the Geneva Convention and the right to political asylum. That being said, deportations should be made quicker and more efficient, for example through the construction of incarceration centers at major airports so that mass deportations would be easier. The legal search of mobile phones of asylum seekers in case of “security concerns” should be made possible.
On cyber-security / digital privacy the CDU supports the legal option of the German intelligence community and police to use special software (“state-trojans”) in investigations to plant exploits on devices of suspects and read their encrypted communications or search their hard drives (by warrant of a judge). Also, video surveillence in public spaces equipped with artificial intelligence and automated face recognition should be made possible (yikes!)