Facts about Germany 2015 2015 - Page 32

30 | 31 THE STATE & POLITICS TOPIC ACTIVE POLITICS “Shaping Germany’s Future” is the title the minimum wage of EUR 8.50 valid for all sec- coalition parties chose for their four-year tors was introduced for the first time; it will be government programme. This shaping of reviewed regularly by a commission compris- the future includes budget planning, which ing representatives of the trade unions and on a long-term basis avoids requiring any entrepreneurs. Around 4 million people bene- new debt. This is intended to ensure Germany fit from this new statutory minimum wage. enjoys political freedom of action, even in times of economic crisis. With its objective The introduction of a quota for women in of a balanced budget, which in both 2014 large stock corporations likewise had wide- and 2015 it indeed achieved, the Federal spread political support in parliament and Government considers itself responsible for the general public. From 2016, women must monetary stability and wishes to be a role account for at least 30 percent of the mem- model for its partners in the Eurozone. bers of these companies’ supervisory boards, whereby the new regulation applies to 108 In the case of some of the government’s major publicly listed firms that fall within the am- projects, there is support, in principle at least, bit of the German co-determination laws. In from far beyond the coalition parties CDU/ future, a further 3,500 companies will have CSU and SPD. In early 2015, for example, a to set themselves binding goals for increasing the proportion of women in executive positions. According to the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), at the end of 2014 NUMBER 0 euros was what Germany’s federal budget deficit came to in 2014. While expenditure totalled 2 96,500 million euros, revenue amounted to 296,500 million euros. This was an historic achievement on the part of the ruling Grand Coalition. For the first time in 45 years – since the 1969 budget – central government assumed no new debt. → bundeshaushalt-info.de the share of women on the advisory boards of the 200 largest companies was 18.4 percent, meaning there is still ground to be made up. The social policy projects in the current legislature include a “pension reform package”, which among other things contains a mothers’ pension that improves the social security of mothers who raised children born before 1992. A key part of the pension package is retirement at the age of 63. Since 1 July 2014 those people who have paid contributions into the state pension scheme for at least 45 years