Germany

   

Social Policies

#7
Key Findings
Showing gains across its social system, Germany receives a high overall ranking (rank 7) in the area of social policies. Its score on this measure has gained 0.4 points relative to 2014.

Education outcomes have improved in recent years, with the quality of primary and higher education showing consistent gains. Participation rates in early-childhood education are high. The country’s dual vocational-training approach helps keep youth-unemployment rates down. The employment boom has resulted in record low levels of households on social support, despite the recent influx of refugees.

The mixed public and private healthcare system is of high quality, but cost pressures are growing. Parental-leave programs are generous. Child-care availability is improving. Women’s employment rates are quite high, though many women work only part time. Pension benefits have been broadened in recent years, requiring rising state subsidies and intensifying sustainability concerns.

While the issues of immigration and asylum policy remain political flashpoints, medium-term integration efforts appear to be going well. However, a xenophobic party has capitalized on public concerns, becoming the third-largest parliamentary group. The government has expanded development aid particularly to North Africa, seeing to address drivers of emigration.

Education

#10

To what extent does education policy deliver high-quality, equitable and efficient education and training?

10
 9

Education policy fully achieves the criteria.
 8
 7
 6


Education policy largely achieves the criteria.
 5
 4
 3


Education policy partially achieves the criteria.
 2
 1

Education policy does not achieve the criteria at all.
Education Policy
8
The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is still an important indicator regarding the quality of a country’s educational system. Since the first PISA study in 2000, the OECD has often repeated its criticism that access to education in Germany is stratified and educational attainment is dependent on pupils’ social backgrounds. Educational opportunities are particularly constrained for children from low-income families and for immigrants. PISA results from 2012, however, had shown significant improvements, reflecting possibly a catalytic effect of the “PISA shock” in the early 2000s. Germany ranked above the OECD average in mathematics, reading and science, and the importance of students’ socioeconomic background had lessened. While in 2000, the level of social equity in German education was among the lowest in the OECD, the overall quality of the country’s primary and higher education systems showed consistent improvement through 2019. With regard to workforce skills levels, Germany now ranks fifth out of 137 countries (Global Competitive Report 2019: 238).

In contrast to other countries, the proportion of individuals with tertiary education has remained astonishingly low for several decades. The proportion of young people with tertiary education in 2019 still lags behind the OECD average. In 2018, 32% of young adults (aged 25-34) held a tertiary degree, compared to 24% in 2008. Despite this progression, tertiary attainment in Germany remains below the OECD average of 44%, mostly as a result of the country’s strong vocational-education system, which offers another reliable path into skilled employment. The share of people with upper-secondary or post-secondary education is high compared to the OECD average (58% as compared to 44%). However, this figure has fallen persistently in the past decades.

A total of 33% of German university graduates hold a degree in one of the science, technology, engineering or mathematics fields that are of particular importance for a country’s technological and innovation capacities, compared to a 25% average across the OECD countries.

Participation rates in high-quality early-childhood education are high; in 2018, more than one-third (37%) of children under the age of three were enrolled in such programs.

In general, Germany’s education system is strong in terms of vocational training, providing skilled workers with good job and income prospects. The rate of post-secondary vocational education and training is about 20%, much higher than the OECD average. All in all, the German education system excels in offering competencies relevant for labor market success, resulting in a very low level of youth unemployment (rank 2 among OECD countries). Thus, defining educational achievement primarily on the criterion of university degrees (as the OECD does) might not do justice to the merits of the segmented German dual education system.

Ensuring that the refugees who arrived in 2015, and to a lesser extent from 2016 to 2019, are sufficiently included in the education system and the labor market will be one of the most challenging tasks in integrating this population successfully. However, this process has proved remarkably successful to date.

Citations:
Global Competitive Report (2019):
http://www3.weforum.org/docs/GCR2018/05FullReport/TheGlobalCompetitivenessReport2019.pdf

OECD (2019): Education at a Glance, Country Note: Germany.
https://www.oecd.org/education/education-at-a-glance/EAG2019_CN_DEU.pdf

Social Inclusion

#8

To what extent does social policy prevent exclusion and decoupling from society?

10
 9

Policies very effectively enable societal inclusion and ensure equal opportunities.
 8
 7
 6


For the most part, policies enable societal inclusion effectively and ensure equal opportunities.
 5
 4
 3


For the most part, policies fail to prevent societal exclusion effectively and ensure equal opportunities.
 2
 1

Policies exacerbate unequal opportunities and exclusion from society.
Social Inclusion Policy
8
Germany has a mature and highly developed welfare state that guarantees a subsistence level of income to all citizens. The German social security system is historically based on the insurance model, supplemented by a need-oriented minimum income. There are a variety of minimum-income benefit schemes, including income support for unemployed (“Hartz IV”) and disabled people, an old-age minimum income, and assistance for asylum-seekers. The number of Hartz IV recipients is declining, having decreased from 4.362 million in 2017 to 4.141 in 2018 and 3.924 in 2019; thus, during the period under review, this figure fell below the 4 million mark for the first time in many years. This decline is all the more remarkable given the fact that many of the refugees who entered Germany since 2015 have newly entered the Hartz transfer system.

On 5 November 2019, the Constitutional Court issued a judgment concerning Hartz IV recipients. Under the current system, people who fail to fulfill certain conditions (e.g., proof of active job search) are subject to penalties. This principle follows the Hartz reforms’ principle of “assist and demand” (“fördern und fordern”). In extreme cases, recipients could lose up to 60% of their benefits, and repeat offenders could lose all their benefits for a maximum period of three months if they failed to attend a job interview, turned down employment or missed training opportunities. The ruling indicated that cutbacks of 60% or even 100% are unconstitutional. The judges emphasized that such reductions are unreasonable given that “the burden it entails seriously encroaches upon the minimum standard of living guaranteed by the fundamental rights.” Thus, a reduction of only 30% was deemed to be acceptable, and even this allowable only under strict conditions. The judgment thus reinforced benefit recipients’ social inclusion without abandoning the possibility of penalties completely.

Since 2015, Germany has had a national statutory minimum wage designed to increase and stabilize market incomes within the low-wage segment of the population. The minimum wage was raised to to €9.19 in 2019, and will be further increased to €9.35 in 2020. No massive job losses have as yet been noticeable.

In November 2019 the government decided to introduce a basic state pension. It aims at reducing poverty in old age, giving benefit recipients a better legal status as citizen and to increase the basic pension to an appropriate level (for details see P11).

The massive increase in the influx of asylum-seekers and refugees since 2015 has constituted an additional challenge to successful social inclusion. In recent years, however, public agencies, supported by civil society organizations, have been largely effective in managing these issues, and in promoting the social and labor-market integration of asylum-seekers. Integration of refugees into the German labor market has progressed better than expected, with about 40% already in employment by the autumn of 2019 (Tagesschau 2019).

Citations:
Statistisches Bundesamt (2019):
https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/1396/umfrage/leistungsempfaenger-von-arbeitslosengeld-ii-jahresdurchschnittswerte/

Tagesschau (2019):
https://www.tagesschau.de/wirtschaft/migration-arbeitsmarkt-101.html

https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/1396/umfrage/leistungsempfaenger-von-arbeitslosengeld-ii-jahresdurchschnittswerte/

https://www.bundesverfassungsgericht.de/SharedDocs/Entscheidungen/DE/2019/11/ls20191105_1bvl000716.html

Health

#3

To what extent do health care policies provide high-quality, inclusive and cost-efficient health care?

10
 9

Health care policy achieves the criteria fully.
 8
 7
 6


Health care policy achieves the criteria largely.
 5
 4
 3


Health care policy achieves the criteria partly.
 2
 1

Health care policy does not achieve the criteria at all.
Health Policy
8
The German healthcare system is inclusive and of high quality, and provides healthcare for almost all citizens. Most people in regular employment are insured through the public health insurance systems, whereas civil servants, self-employed people, people with high incomes and some other groups tend to be privately insured. However, the system faces challenges in the form of increasing costs. Recently, the system’s short-term financial stability has been better than expected due to buoyant contributions resulting from the employment boom. However, long-term financial stability will be challenged by the aging population and increasing costs within the healthcare system. Healthcare spending as a proportion of GDP in Germany is among the three highest such levels in the OECD world, and is considerably higher than the OECD average (11.2% of GDP compared to an OECD average of 8.8%). In per capita terms, health spending in Germany is nearly $6,000 per year. This is the fourth-highest position and is again significantly higher than the OECD average of about $4,000 (OECD 2019).

In its coalition agreement, the grand coalition negotiated a variety of reform measures to increase the quality of healthcare, redefine some financial details, reorganize the registration of physicians in private practice, and adjust the distribution of practicing doctors and hospitals. All measures have been formulated rather vaguely and no important details have yet been determined. But a minimum range of medical-service opening hours for outpatient care of 25 hours per week was adopted, and the ministry will promote the introduction of electronic patient records in the medical practices and the health insurance institutions.

Contribution rates have been largely stable over recent years, consisting of a general rate of 14.6% of gross wages plus an insurer-specific contribution rate that averaged 0.9% in 2019. The insurer-specific contribution, previously paid solely by the employee, is now shared equally between employer and employee, like the general rate. The resulting average combined contribution rate is15.5% which has to be paid on income up to (an annually increasing upper) ceiling. Effectively, this formula implies that absolute contribution levels will grow dynamically in pace with the overall increase in wage levels. The federal subsidy for the national health fund was raised in 2017 by €0.5 billion to a total of €14.5 billion and was kept constant in 2019.

On 10 October 2018, the cabinet decided to increase the contribution rate for long-term care insurance by 0.5 percentage points. As of 1 January 1 2019, it was 3.05%, with single contributors required to pay a rate of 3.30%. Thus, a total of more than €5 billion will additionally be available for improvements in long-term care. A part of the additional revenue will be placed in a precautionary fund intended to stabilize future contribution rates. In addition, families that wish to provide care at home will be given greater support.

Finally, the coalition agreement has sought to increase the number of medical student places, and to improve the training given to midwives by making this a graduate-level profession.

While the government has been ambitious in fostering a high-quality health system, it has not acted sufficiently to limit spending pressure. In particular, it has been hesitant to open the system to more competition (e.g., with respect to pharmacies).

Citations:
OECD 2019:
http://www.oecd.org/health/health-systems/Health-Spending-Latest-Trends-Brief.pdf

Statistisches Bundesamt 2019: https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/244326/umfrage/zuschuss-des-bundes-zum-gesundheitsfonds/

http://www.sozialpolitik-aktuell.de/tl_files/sozialpolitik-aktuell/_Politikfelder/Finanzierung/Datensammlung/PDF-Dateien/tabII6.pdf

Families

#12

To what extent do family support policies enable women to combine parenting with participation in the labor market?

10
 9

Family support policies effectively enable women to combine parenting with employment.
 8
 7
 6


Family support policies provide some support for women who want to combine parenting and employment.
 5
 4
 3


Family support policies provide only few opportunities for women who want to combine parenting and employment.
 2
 1

Family support policies force most women to opt for either parenting or employment.
Family Policy
8
For decades, a broad consensus among political parties and major societal actors aligned the German system paradigmatically toward the male breadwinner model. Universal family benefits, incentives tailored to the needs of married couples and single-earner families, and a shortage of public childcare contributed to women’s low rate of participation in the labor market.

Today, this traditional approach has been substantially corrected. Parental leave, previously short and lacking adequate compensation, has been extended. Paternity leave has been introduced and promoted. Today, a parent’s net income while on leave is on average just 25% less than their net income prior to leave. Additionally, the number of public childcare places has increased. A legal right to childcare beginning at age one came into effect in August 2013. In early 2019, a total of 33.6% of the country’s children aged under three, or 790,000 individuals, had access to a childcare institution (BMFSFJ 2019). In June 2017, the German Bundestag voted to increase the number of daycare places by 110,000 by 2020, allocating €1.13 billion to this purpose. Moreover, new legislation was introduce to improve the quality of daycare services (Gute KiTa-Gesetz).

In summary, these measures, in combination with an increasing shortage of skilled labor, have led to a considerable increase in labor-market participation rates among women. While in 2005, only 59.6% of women between 15 and 64 years of age were employed, this figure had risen to about 74.3% by 2019. However, 37% of women are working part-time, which is well above the OECD average of about 25% (OECD 2019).

Citations:
Deutscher Bundestag (2018): Bericht über die Auswirkungen der Regelungen zum Elterngeld Plus
https://www.bmfsfj.de/blob/121264/6bfce747d8a948b19ddbeb73e4bfdaef/bericht-elterngeldplus-data.pdf

Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend (2019):
https://www.bmfsfj.de/alle-meldungen/790-000-betreungsplätze-fuerkinder-unter-drei-jahren/138140

OECD 2019:
https://www.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=LFS_SEXAG

Pensions

#22

To what extent does pension policy realize goals of poverty prevention, intergenerational equity and fiscal sustainability?

10
 9

Pension policy achieves the objectives fully.
 8
 7
 6


Pension policy achieves the objectives largely.
 5
 4
 3


Pension policy achieves the objectives partly.
 2
 1

Pension policy does not achieve the objectives at all.
Pension Policy
6
Germany has engaged in a significant number of pension reforms in recent decades. In particular, the far-reaching 2004 reform aimed to make the pension system more sustainable by increasing the retirement age and establishing a link between pension increases and demographic change.

Since 2014, the grand-coalition governments have reversed the previous pension reform agenda and gradually increased the generosity of the system. Critics have argued that these measures would undermine the system’s long-term sustainability. First, the government reduced the retirement age by two years for workers who have contributed to the pension system for at least 45 years. Second, it provided a “catch up” payment for housewives with children born before 1992. The calculation will now include two additional years of (fictive) contributions, allowing this group greater parity with counterparts whose children were born after 1992. Finally, pensions for people with disabilities were increased. The total cost of these reforms is expected to reach €160 billion by 2030.

In 2017 and 2018, several additional reforms were undertaken: Company pension plans have been encouraged as an addition to the statutory pension insurance system, pension calculations for people with long-lasting illnesses were adjusted, and the current difference in pension payments and pension levels in the federal states of the former East and West Germany states was set to sunset by 2025.

In November 2019, the government decided to introduce a basic state pension (Grundrente). This is intended to reduce old-age poverty. As long as they have paid into the old-age pension system for more than 35 years, including periods of child raising periods and care, the pensions provided to low-income earners will be increased. They will be treated as if they had paid contributions for 35 years on the basis of 80% of the average wage. The basic pension will then be deemed fully paid up to a monthly maximum taxable income of €1,250 for single individuals and €1,950 for couples (including income from pensions and capital in the means test). The government expects that the additional costs associated with this provision will be about €1.1 billion to €1.5 billion annually. In addition, the government implemented several measures aimed at improving private and occupational pension provisions (BMAS 2019).

Public subsidies for the pension fund have increased routinely over time. In 2017, subsidies totaled €67.8 billion, and with an increase to €98 billion expected by 2019. In August 2018, the government introduced a “double stop line,” which means that contribution rates should not exceed more than 20% of income by 2025, and that pension levels should not fall below 48% of income by the same year. This will only be financially possible with a substantial further increase in the federal subsidy.

The contribution rate has been lowered from 18.9% to 18.6% since January 2015. Meanwhile, pensions have been increasing quickly in recent years due to the high levels of employment growth and the rising average wage of the active population. On 1 July 2019, pensions again increased by 3.18% compared to 1.9% in 2017 and 3.22% in 2018. However, increasing healthcare contributions and long-term care insurance costs have somewhat reduced the level of net pension increases.

Citations:
https://www.bundesregierung.de/breg-de/aktuelles/rentenpaket-1526990

BMAS (2019):
https://www.bmas.de/DE/Presse/Meldungen/2019/einigung-bei-grundrente.ht ml

SPIEGEL Online 2018:
http://www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/soziales/rente-grosse-koalition-einigt-sich-auf-reform-was-bedeutet-das-a-1225438.html

Deutsche Rentenversicherung: Rentenversicherung in Zahlen 2019:
hhtps://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung.de/cae/servlet/contentblob/238692/ publicationFile/61815/01_rv_in_zahlen_2013.pdf

Integration

#12

How effectively do policies support the integration of migrants into society?

10
 9

Cultural, education and social policies effectively support the integration of migrants into society.
 8
 7
 6


Cultural, education and social policies seek to integrate migrants into society, but have failed to do so effectively.
 5
 4
 3


Cultural, education and social policies do not focus on integrating migrants into society.
 2
 1

Cultural, education and social policies segregate migrant communities from the majority society.
Integration Policy
8
According to new data, about 25% of the people living in Germany have a migrant background. This translates into 20.8 million persons, and represents an annual increase of 2.5% from 2017 to 2018. This increase is consistent with the trend seen over the last decade (apart from the exceptionally high numbers in 2015 – 2016 in the context of the refugee crisis) (Statistisches Bundesamt 2019).

According to the OECD (2013), reforms passed in the early 2010s “put Germany among the OECD countries with the fewest restrictions on labor migration for highly skilled occupations.” In 2014, the government introduced the right to dual citizenship. This reform abolished the requirement for most children born in Germany to non-German parents to decide between the citizenship of their birth and the citizenship of their parents.

The number of asylum applications has strongly decreased after 2016’s peak of 745,545, falling to an estimated 114,165 in 2019 (Statista 2019). Despite this normalization, migration remains one of the country’s top political issues, with a lasting impact on German politics. Since the refugee crisis of 2015 – 2016, the xenophobic AfD has gained seats in all state parliaments, and even became the third-strongest party in the 2017 Bundestag election. Moreover, the party was able to increase its vote shares in the subsequent Länder elections in 2018 and 2019.

Governments at the federal and state levels, with additional strong involvement by the municipalities and civil society, have responded to the challenges posed by the high number of refugee arrivals since 2015 in an impressive way. The federal government’s financial strength allowed it to substantially increase financial support for states and municipalities, while also providing early integration and language courses. These policies were followed by attempts to restrict and regulate the influx of refugees both through national and EU initiatives, including the refugee pact with Turkey in which the EU agreed to provide financial support to host Syrian refugees in Turkey, while the Turkish authorities in exchange agreed to prevent refugees from entering EU territory.

While Germany has thus handled the short-run challenges remarkably well, the long-term challenge of integration remains a crucial concern, including the successful integration of the refugees and asylum-seekers into both the education system and labor market. However, recent data confirm that the 2015 refugees have been integrated into the German labor market more easily than many expected (Tagesschau 2019). In autumn 2019, about 40% of refugees from the main countries of origin (Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey and Iran) were already in employment, mostly in regular employment with full social security coverage. However, labor-market integration has been much slower for women refugees than for their male counterparts. The OECD recently praised the effectiveness of Germany’s dual vocational training system as having been successful in providing migrants with professional qualifications and bringing them into skilled employment (Handelsblatt 2019).

Much will ultimately depend on whether the process of broader cultural integration will succeed. So far, German civil society remains generally in favor of a society open to migrants. However, there is a danger of strengthening xenophobia if problems of cultural alienation and safety concerns grow. A further stress factor for integration as resulted from political developments in Turkey, where the weakening of democratic institutions and civil liberties under the Erdogan government have served to polarize Turkish communities in Germany. This has resulted in divergent perceptions of the importance of free media, the rule of law and the separation of powers (values enshrined in the German constitution), raising concerns about an absence of common values.

The German Islam Conference, established in 2016, is a key platform for dialogue with Muslim organizations in Germany. The German coalition government shifted its approach toward the Islam Conference at the end of November 2018, and is currently focusing on a new program called Mosques for Integration (Moscheen für Integration), as well as the education of Muslim theologians in German universities (Deutsche Islamkonferenz 2018).

Citations:
BAMF 2019: Aktuelle Zahlen zu Asyl, Oktober 2019:
http://www.bamf.de/DE/Infothek/Statistiken/Asylzahlen/AktuelleZahlen/aktuelle-zahlen-asyl-node.html

bpb (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung) (2019)
http://www.bpb.de/nachschlagen/zahlen-und-fakten/soziale-situation-in-deutschland/61646/migrationshintergrund-i

Deutsche Islamkonferenz (2018):
http://www.deutsche-islam-konferenz.de/DIK/DE/DIK/01_UeberDieDIK/01_Aktuelles/10dik2018-auftaktsitzung-resuemee/auftakt-resuemee-dik-inhalt.html?nn=3331094

Handelslbatt (2019): OECD lobt deutsche Integration durch Ausbildung, 17.12.2019.

Statistisches Bundesamt (2019):
https://www.destatis.de/DE/Themen/Gesellschaft-Umwelt/Bevoelkerung/Migration-Integration/_inhalt.html

Statista (2019):
https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/76095/umfrage/asylantraege-insgesamt-in-deutschland-seit-1995/

Tagesschau (2019):
https://www.tagesschau.de/wirtschaft/migration-arbeitsmarkt-101.html

Safe Living

#17

How effectively does internal security policy protect citizens against security risks?

10
 9

Internal security policy protects citizens against security risks very effectively.
 8
 7
 6


Internal security policy protects citizens against security risks more or less effectively.
 5
 4
 3


Internal security policy does not effectively protect citizens against security risks.
 2
 1

Internal security policy exacerbates the security risks.
Internal Security Policy
7
In general, residents of Germany are well protected against security risks such as crime or terrorism. After a rise between 2013 and 2015, the total number of recorded crimes has fallen again since 2016. According to the most recent police statistics, the total number of crimes decreased by 3.4% in 2018, reaching a level of 5.6 million total cases, the lowest such number since 1992 (Bundesministerium des Innern 2019b). In 2018, particularly strong declines in sexual offenses and burglaries were evident.

The influx of nearly 900,000 refugees in 2015 and the years to follow fostered a heated discussion about a potential rise in crime. Crime rates differ significantly across migrant communities (Bundeskriminalamt 2019). The share of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq among crime suspects is far below these countries’ shares in the total refugee population. Conversely, refugees from the Maghreb and other African countries, as well as from Serbia, have disproportionate shares among criminal suspects. In general, the higher crime rates among refugees compared with the native-born population can be explained by the much higher share of young men with low levels of education and who are without employment, a group that tends to exhibit higher crime rates in general.

Several terrorist attacks by Islamist extremists took place over the course of 2016 to 2019, although the majority of allegedly planned attacks were prevented by the police. The most severe attack took place in December 2016, when Anis Amri killed 11 people and injured 55 by driving a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin. The year 2019 saw a terrorist attack from a right-wing extremist who targeted a synagogue in Halle.

Politically motivated crimes, which increased in number in 2015 – 2016, have been on the decline since then. The total number decreased in 2018 by 8.7% (Bundesministerium des Innern 2019a). Politically motivated violent crimes are slightly more frequent from the left (1,340 in 2018) than from the right (1,156 in 2018). For all political crimes, including non-violent incidents, the numbers are much higher for the right (20,431 in 2018) than for the left (7,961 in 2018). Political crimes related to foreign ideologies are on the rise, but remain relatively infrequent overall (2,478 in 2018).

Citations:
Bundeskriminalamt (2019): Kriminalität im Kontext von Zuwanderung, Bundeslagebild 2018.

Bundesministerium des Inneren (2019a): Politisch motivierte Kriminalität im Jahr 2018, Bundeweite Fallzahlen, 14. Mai 2019.

Bundesministerium des Inneren (2019b): Polizeiliche Kriminalstatistik 2018, Ausgewählte Zahlen im Überblick,

https://www.tagesschau.de/inland/kriminalitaet-rechtsextremismus-101.html

Global Inequalities

#7

To what extent does the government demonstrate an active and coherent commitment to promoting equal socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries?

10
 9

The government actively and coherently engages in international efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries. It frequently demonstrates initiative and responsibility, and acts as an agenda-setter.
 8
 7
 6


The government actively engages in international efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries. However, some of its measures or policies lack coherence.
 5
 4
 3


The government shows limited engagement in international efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries. Many of its measures or policies lack coherence.
 2
 1

The government does not contribute (and often undermines) efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries.
Global Social Policy
8
In absolute terms, Germany ranks third among donor countries with respect to the provision of official development assistance. Over recent years, it has increased its ratio of official development assistance (ODA) to GNI substantially, and has reached a level almost at the ODA target of 0.7% of GNI, and is thus among the top 20% of OECD donors.

The country’s trading system is necessarily aligned with that of its European partners. In trade negotiations within the European Union, Germany tends to defend open-market principals and liberalization. This position is in line with the country’s economic self-interest as a successful global exporter. For agricultural products in particular, the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) still partially shields European farmers from international competition, thus limiting the ability of developing countries to export their agricultural products to Europe. However, Germany has been more willing than peers such as France to consider a more liberal and open CAP that would provide greater benefits to developing countries and emerging markets.

In October 2018, the Merkel government started an initiative to strengthen economic developments in Africa. It invited 12 African governments to Berlin and announced the creation of an investment fund comprising about €1 billion. It is intended to foster economic development and encourage private investment in the participating countries. The dramatic increase in the number of refugees arriving in Germany since 2015 seems to have increased the German government’s awareness of the importance of stable social, economic and political conditions in developing countries. This understanding has had a lasting budgetary impact; for example, the 2018 federal budget provides for an increase in the resources allocated to the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development by €0.8 billion. In 2019, for the first time, the ministry’s budget will exceed €10 billion, with a particular focus on fighting the causes of flight in North Africa and helping Syria and neighboring countries (BMZ 2018).

Citations:
BMZ (Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Hilfe und Entwicklung) (2018):
https://www.bmz.de/de/presse/aktuelleMeldungen/2018/november/181109_Minister-Mueller-Haushalt-2019-staerkt-Entwicklungspolitik-Koalitionsvertrag-wird-umgesetzt/index.html
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