Sven Giegold
Mitglied der Grünen/EFA-Fraktion im Europaparlament

Sprecher Europagruppe Grüne

Europäisches Semester: EU-Kommission sendet Serie von Ohrfeigen wegen Reformverweigerung nach Berlin

Im Rahmen des Europäischen Semesters hat die Kommission heute ihre Bewertung der mitgliedsstaatlichen Stabilitäts- und Konvergenzprogramme sowie der Reformprogramme vorgestellt. Zudem hat die Kommission erstmals gründliche Analysen zu den makroökonomischen Ungleichgewichten von 12 Mitgliedsländern vorgelegt.

 

Die Ergebnisse für Deutschland kommentiert Sven Giegold, wirtschafts- und finanzpolitischer Sprecher der Grünen im Europaparlament:

“In ihrer Bewertung des deutschen Reformprogramms verteilt die Kommission reichlich Ohrfeigen an die Bundesregierung für deren halbherzige Reformbemühungen. Es ist peinlich, dass die Empfehlungen der EU-Kommission für die zweite Reformperiode des Europäischen Semesters mit denen der ersten Reformperiode weitgehend identisch sind. Wenn alle Mitgliedsländer so unverantwortlich handeln, ist es um die Zukunft der Eurozone schlecht bestellt.

In Bezug auf die Entwicklung der Landesbanken attestiert die Kommission der Bundesregierung eine fehlende langfristige Vorstellung ihres Geschäftsmodells.

Noch verheerender fällt die Beurteilung der Maßnahmen für verbesserten Zugang zum Arbeitsmarkt und Abgabenbelastung für Arbeitnehmer aus. Die Kommission fordert von der Bundesregierung ein “ambitionierteres” Vorgehen beim Abbau von steuerlichen Hindernissen durch das Ehegattensplitting. Auch erachtet die EU-Behörde die Effektivität der bisherigen steuerlichen Reformen als gering und kritisiert die weiterhin hohe Abgabenbelastung vor allem für Niedrigverdiener.

Im Bereich Forschung und Bildung nimmt die Kommission die im Rahmen des Euro-Plus-Paktes verkündeten Reformen ins Visier. Die Behörde kritisiert, dass die Bundesregierung diese Maßnahmen mehrheitlich bereits zuvor geplant und dann als Maßnahmen des Euro-Plus-Paktes verkauft hat. Die Kommission kommt deshalb zum Entschluss, dass diese Maßnahmen nicht als Reformbeiträge betrachtet werden können.

Zudem attestiert sie der Bundesregierung nur langsame Fortschritte beim Ausbau der Kinderbetreuung. Auch bei der Chancenungerechtigkeit im deutschen Bildungssystem legt die Kommission den Finger in die Wunde.

In Bezug auf Leistungsbilanzüberschüsse hat sich die intensive Lobbyarbeit der Bundesregierung wohl gelohnt. So taucht Deutschland nicht in der Liste von Problemfällen mit wirtschaftlichen Ungleichgewichten auf. Dort werden nur Mitgliedsstaaten wie Spanien genannt, die ein Defizit aufweisen. Damit hat sich die Bundesregierung mit ihrer Ansicht bei der Kommission Gehör verschafft, dass Überschüsse weniger schädlich seien als Defizite. Hohe Überschüsse sind jedoch nur möglich, wenn woanders in selber Höhe Schulden gemacht werden. Die Überschussländer trifft insofern eine Mitverantwortung an der verheerenden Situation der Defizitländer. Sie stehen deshalb genauso in der Pflicht, dem Auseinanderdriften der europäischen Volkswirtschaften entgegenzusteuern. Mangelnde Entwicklung der Binnennachfrage in Überschussländern sollte folglich ebenfalls gerügt werden. Nur so lässt sich die Stabilität der Eurozone sicherstellen. Vor diesem Hintergrund mag die fehlende Kritik an Deutschland zwar die Bundesregierung beruhigen, der Stabilität der Eurozone hilft sie jedoch nicht.

Die Bundesregierung steht nun in der Pflicht, endlich die vom Rat in 2011 beschlossenen Reformempfehlungen umzusetzen. Keinesfalls darf sie nun im Rat politischen Druck ausüben, um den Beschluss der Empfehlungen der EU-Kommission durch den Rat zu verwässern.”

 

(1) Hintergrund zum europäischen Semester: https://sven-giegold.de/?p=7919

Auszug aus dem heutigen Kommissionsvorschlag

(Quelle: http://is.gd/zxpuQO, S. 5) 

In the light of this assessment, the Council has examined Germany’s 2012 stability programme, and its opinion7 is reflected in particular in recommendation (1) below,

HEREBY RECOMMENDS that Germany should take action within the period 2012-2013 to:

  1. Continue with sound fiscal policies to achieve the medium-term budgetary objective by 2012. To this end, implement the budgetary strategy as envisaged, ensuring compliance with the expenditure benchmark as well as sufficient progress towards compliance with the debt reduction benchmark. Continue the growth-friendly consolidation course through additional efforts to enhance the efficiency of public spending on health care and long-term care, and by using untapped potential to improve the efficiency of the tax system; use available scope for increased and more efficient growth-enhancing spending on education and research at all levels of government. Complete the implementation of the debt brake in a consistent manner across all Länder, ensuring timely and relevant monitoring procedures and correction mechanisms.
  2. Address the remaining structural weaknesses in the financial sector, inter alia by further restructuring of those Landesbanken which are in need of an adequately funded viable business model while avoiding excessive deleveraging.
  3. Reduce the high tax wedge in a budgetary neutral way, in particular for low-wage earners, and maintain appropriate activation and integration measures, notably for the long-term unemployed. Create the conditions for wages to grow in line with productivity. Take measures to raise the educational achievement of disadvantaged groups, notably through ensuring equal opportunities in the education and training system. Phase out the fiscal disincentives for second earners, and increase the availability of fulltime child-care facilities and all-day schools.
  4. Continue efforts to keep the overall economic costs of transforming the energy system to a minimum, including by accelerating the expansion of the national and cross-border electricity and gas networks. Ensure that the institutional set-up guarantees effective competition in railway markets. Take measures to further stimulate competition in the services sectors, including professional services and certain crafts, in particular in the construction sector.

 

 

Auszug aus dem Hintergrundpapier der Kommission

(Quelle: http://is.gd/g6RNju, S. 21 ):

 

2011 commitmentsSummary assessment
Country-specific recommendations (CSRs)
Implement the budgetary strategy for the year 2012 and beyond as envisaged, thus bringing the high public debt ratio on a downward path, in line with the Council recommendations under the EDP. Ensure an adequate structural adjustment effort towards the medium-term objective thereafter. Complete the implementation of the budgetary rule at the Länder level and further strengthen the corresponding monitoring and sanctioning mechanism. Maintain a growth-friendly consolidation course, in particular by safeguarding adequate expenditure on education and by further enhancing the efficiency of public spending on healthcare and long-term care.Germany has partially implemented the CSR.Germany brought the deficit below the 3% of GDP reference value in 2011, thus two years ahead of the deadline set by the Council. It plans to meet its medium-term budgetary objective already in 2012 and to reach virtually balanced nominal budgets as from 2014. The implementation of the debt break at the Länder level remains incomplete and inconsistent across Länder. The effectiveness of the monitoring of fiscal developments through the Stability Council may be weakened by inadequate monitoring indicators. The federal government is well on track to meet its commitment to increase its spending on education and research. However, it is important that commitments are met by all levels of government. The latest health care reform has led to some cost reductions, especially for pharmaceuticals, though further efforts are required to contain expenditure increases in the future. Furthermore, the federal government adopted a reform of long-term care aiming to extend benefits, to increase the contribution rate by 0.1pp and to introduce tax incentives for voluntary private insurance, which also appears insufficient to cope with expected future cost increases, however.
Address the structural weaknesses in the financial sector, in particular by restructuring Landesbanken which are in need of an adequately funded viable business model.Germany has partially implemented the CSR.Germany has taken measures to safeguard the adequate capitalisation and stability of the German financial system, but further measures (including the current international initiatives) may be needed in order to develop a more forward-looking macroprudential supervisory framework. Regarding the Landesbanken, there has been progress in individual cases. However, Germany is following a piecemeal approach that lacks a comprehensive and long-term vision for the sector, and the core problem of some Landesbanken, namely the lack of a viable business model, remains unsolved.
Enhance participation in the labour market by improving equitable access to education and training systems and by taking further steps to reduce the high tax wedge in a budgetary neutral way and improve work incentives for persons with low income perspectives. Increase the number of fulltime childcare facilities and all-day schools. Closely monitor the effects of recent reform measures to reduce tax disincentives for second earners and take further measures in case disincentives remain.Germany has partially implemented the CSR.Germany is making some progress in tackling educational disadvantage. Some Länder have taken measures which may have a positive impact on equal education opportunities. Pedagogical measures (e.g. early language learning) are expected to improve the performance of groups at risk. Implementation of the measures included in the extended National Training Pact (Ausbildungspakt) should alleviate some shortcomings in the so-called Übergangssystem, aiming at supporting the transition from lowersecondary education to (dual) vocational and educational training.Changes in the pension and long-term care contribution rates will only have a minor impact on the tax wedge, which remains high. It is important to ensure that the reduction of resources allocated to activation and integration programmes and instruments does not result in worsening employment opportunities for the unemployed. The impact of the increase in the income allowance in unemployment benefits is likely to be limited. Progress in increasing the number of childcare facilities is slow. The national reform programme does not provide information on progress regarding the introduction of all-day childcare facilities and schools. Germany has not reported on the effects of previous reform measures to reduce tax disincentives for second earners, but the impact of the 2009 reform on the joint income taxation system (Faktorverfahren) is likely to be limited. The plan to carry out an evaluation of the system of taxation and social benefits related to marriage and family in 2013 is welcome, but this is an important issue that deserves more ambitious treatment. Moreover, the introduction of a childcare allowance would risk creating an additional disincentive to work for parents with children.
Remove unjustified restrictions on certain professional services and on certain crafts. To improve competition in network industries, strengthen the supervisory role of the Federal Network Agency in the rail sector; and, in the context of the announced national Energy Concept, focus on improving the long-term costeffectiveness of the Renewable Energy Act, ensuring the effective independence of energy production and transmission, and improving cross- border interconnections.Germany has partially implemented the CSR.Progress in stimulating competition in the services sectors has been limited. The new legislation on the railway sector will not address the separation between the infrastructure manager and the railway holding, which is the main barrier to competition in the railway sector. Germany is making progress in improving the longterm cost-effectiveness of renewable energy, but it is important to continue efforts in this regard, in particular given the ambitious new energy strategy. Germany transposed the EU Third Energy Package in 2011. Progress in expanding the electricity grid is hindered by a lack of public acceptance and by the insufficient coordination among regional authorities. Bottlenecks remain in gas transport capacity.
Euro Plus Pact (national commitments and progress)
Enhance the sustainability of public finances, by achieving the deficit target earlier than required and exceeding the targets set in the debt rule.Germany has fully implemented the commitments.Germany brought the deficit below the 3% of GDP reference value in 2011, thus two years ahead of the deadline set by the Council. The federal government also exceeded the targets set by the national debt rule.
Foster employment, by promoting science and research, tackling literacy problems among adults, reforming labour market policy instruments, making it easier to combine work with care commitments, and facilitating voluntary service.Germany has partially implemented the commitments.Most of these measures were planned, and some were being implemented already before being included in the Euro Plus Pact in 2011 and did not represent additional commitments. It is important to ensure that the reduction of resources allocated to activation and integration programmes and instruments does not results in worsening employment opportunities for the unemployed.
Foster competitiveness, by promoting innovation, facilitating the integration of skilled professionals with foreign qualifications and migrants, promoting excellence at universities, continuing to expand and improve the quality of childcare facilities, and promoting integration through language training among children. Foster competitiveness, by increasing funding for the development and maintenance of federal transport infrastructure, expanding broadband infrastructure, promoting innovation in the field of electric mobility, boosting competition in the electricity and gas markets, speeding up the extension of the electricity network, developing a new research energy programme, further liberalising protected sectors, including the longdistance bus transport market, and promoting competition.Germany has partially implemented the commitments.Most of these measures were planned, and some were being implemented already before being included in the Euro Plus Pact in 2011 and did not represent additional commitments. It is important to ensure effective implementation of the new legislation. Progress in expanding and improving the quality of childcare facilities is slow.
Reinforce financial stability, by increasing the efficiency of the regulation and supervision of the capital market and ensuring that the banking sector assumes some of the cost of public sector assistance.Germany has partially implemented the commitments.Both measures have been introduced, but further measures (including the current international initiatives) may be needed to develop a more forward-looking macroprudential supervisory framework, and monitoring the effectiveness of the new restructuring fund may be needed.
Europe 2020 (national targets and progress)
Employment rate: 77 %Employment rate: 74.9 % in 2010.
R&D target: 3 % of GDPGross domestic R&D expenditure: 2.82 % in 2010.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions target: -14 % (compared with 2005; emissions in sectors within the Emissions Trading System (ETS) are not covered by this target)Change in non-ETS GHG emissions between 2005 and 2010: -6% (this data corresponds to the current ETS scope).
Renewable energy target: 18 % of renewable energy in gross final energy consumptionShare of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption: 9.8 % in 2009 (Eurostat) and 11.3 % (National RES Progress report). Germany has already achieved its 2011/2012 interim renewable energy target.
Energy efficiency — reduction in primary energy consumption by 2020 (in Mtoe): 38.30 MtoeNAThe energy efficiency objectives are set according to national circumstances and national formulations. As the methodology for expressing the 2020 energy consumption impact of these objectives in the same format was agreed only recently, the Commission is not yet able to give an overview.
Early school leaving target: < 10 %Early leavers from education and training (percentage of the population aged 18-24 with at most lower secondary education and not in further education or training): 11.9 % in 2010. Significant achievement gap between migrants and natives (23.4 % vs. 10.2 %).
Tertiary (or equivalent) education target: 42 % (Germany also includes qualifications in its national attainment target that it considers as ‘equivalent’ to tertiary attainment, technically classified at ISCED 4 levels).Tertiary educational attainment: 29.8 % in 2010 on the basis of ISCED 5 and 6. Including the additional qualifications included by Germany in its national target, the performance in 2010 was 41.3 %.
Target for the reduction in the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion: 20% reduction in the number of long-term unemployed by 2020 compared with 2008, i.e. reduction by 320 000 long-term unemployedPeople at risk of poverty or social exclusion: 19.7 % of the population in 2010, i.e. 15.9 million people. Target: 15% reduction in the number of long-term unemployed compared with 2008, i.e. reduction by 240 000 long-term unemployed.
Rubrik: Wirtschaft & Währung

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