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The Surfer

Are we heading toward a happier future?

A summary of what each major party is promising for the future.

Sep 23, 2021
Reading time 2 min.

🌈 A quick taster for you:

  • Fast internet by 2025.
  • An end to fax machines in government.
  • Secured pension level of 48%.

🧐 Why do I care?

This Sunday, the election for the 20th German Bundestag will take place. A total of 47 parties are standing in the election, and each party has its own set of goals that they want to implement. In the previous two issues of The Surfer, we explained how the electoral system works, and shared some insights into the party goals for climate, education, and the labor market. Today let’s look at what the parties have in store for digitization and pensions — both important topics for the future!


🔍 What exactly is happening here?

  • Digitization: Everyday I'm buffering
    Germany is one of the richest countries in the world and an advanced industrial nation. Yet, when it comes to accessing the internet, many people still struggle to get a decent connection. This is however set to change in the next few years.
    The CDU and FDP want to enable a 5G network across the whole of Germany by 2025. They also want to create a Federal Ministry for Digitalization which will be responsible for coordinating and implementing projects similar to the Corona warning app. In addition, the CDU wants to comprehensively digitize the administration.  
    The SPD election promise is that Germany will have a world-class digital infrastructure by 2030. This would include a digital administration, fast internet for all households and businesses, and having digital education as part of school curriculum. With the help of the so-called ‘social tariff’, the SPD will also make it possible for people with low incomes to receive fast internet access.
    The Left wants to put the mobile network in public hands, because they see the internet as an essential service and something that needs to be oriented toward the common good. They plan to expand public wifi in municipalities, and ensure that the cost of accessing the internet is included in the minimum income (see our previous newsletter for more on minimum income).
    The Greens go even further and want to create a legal right to fast internet. They also plan to expand mobile communications nationwide, create a digital administration, and digitize the healthcare sector with the help of electronic patient files. Understandably, it’s important for the Greens that the federal government uses mainly renewable energies to run their computers and data centers. You can find out more about this here.
  • Retirement: Back to the future
    Yes, we know, retirement might still feel like a long way off! But pensions, and providing for your old-age, is a topic that you should already be thinking about. So what do the political parties have to say on this matter?
    The Greens want to leave the retirement age at 67 but make it simpler to have an earlier, or later, start to a pension. They want to keep the pension level at 48% — which refers to the ratio between the average income of an employee and the pension amount. So the pension is almost half of the original salary. This will be guaranteed by a citizen insurance (which is actually just a new name for "legal pension insurance") which employees, self-employed persons, civil servants, and other gainfully employed persons will all pay into. 
    The Left want to reduce the retirement age from 67 to 65. People who’ve already paid into the statutory pension scheme for 40 years or more will be eligible to retire at 60. Like the Greens, the Left would strengthen the statutory pension insurance by making it obligatory for all people in gainful employment to pay into. For people with low incomes there will be a minimum pension of €1200. 
    The FDP want to ensure that if a person is over 60, and has reached a minimum level of pension contributions, then they have the choice as to when to retire.
    The SPD plan to leave the retirement age at 67 years, and keep the pension level at 48%. They propose that all employed people — including civil servants, the self-employed, and members of parliament — should pay into the statutory pension to make this possible.
    The CDU also doesn’t want to increase the pension age of 67, and they will continue to rely on a combination of statutory, occupational and private pensions.
    You can find more information on the topic of pensions right here.

🤓 What does this mean for me?

There are lots of ways to find out more about the goals of the various parties without having to read through their entire election programs. We’ve given you a little insight here, and we’ll cover more details next week! But if you’d like more information right now then we suggest you check out Wahl-O-Mat, read a summary of the election programs on Tagesschau.de, or get some extra info from MrWissen2Go.   

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