Last updated: 07.12.2023, 22:01
By: Stefan Krieger
With a comprehensive plan for the modernization of Germany, the SPD wants to win back the trust of the voters at its party conference. The news ticker.
- Party congress in Berlin: The SPD wants to make fundamental decisions
- Speech of the Chancellor: Olaf Scholz addresses the delegates with a speech at the party congress on Saturday
- The news ticker for the party congress of the Social Democrats in Berlin is continuously updated.
Berlin – German social democracy is in crisis. The SPD, which provides the chancellor with Olaf Scholz in the traffic light coalition, is sinking further and further in the favor of voters in current polls. According to a recent poll by the polling institute Ipsos, if the Bundestag elections were held next Sunday, the SPD would only get 16 percent of the vote – one percentage point less than in the previous month.
With their party congress starting on Friday (8 December), the Social Democrats are trying to regain their footing. From the defensive to the offensive, that is the motto from the party headquarters for the next two years before the next federal election. Above all, the SPD wants to sharpen its social profile.
Looking for ways out of the crisis: Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz, SPD leader Saskia Esken and Andreas Stoch, state chairman in Baden-Württemberg, at the party congress there. (Archive photo) © Silas Stein
"We want Germany to be a strong, fair country that masters the climate-neutral transformation. That is why we are presenting at our national party congress ... a plan for the modernization of our country. This includes an active location and industrial policy, a decade of investments in the future and a Germany Pact for Education," it says on the website of the SPD's national party conference.
SPD party conference 2023: Chancellor Scholz speaks on Saturday
It will start on Friday at 10:00 a.m. with the welcome of the delegates, an hour later the party chairwoman Saskia Esken will give the opening speech. Federal Chancellor Scholz will address the delegates on Saturday. This will be followed by the first major debate.
Discussion and vote on motions at the SPD party congress 2023
A large part of the three-day party congress will be deliberated and voted on on the various motions of the members. Here is a selection of topics:
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In order to sharpen the social profile of the SPD, the party's executive committee has written plans into its leading motions that will hardly please the coalition partner FDP in particular. Through an income tax reform, the party wants to ensure that 95 percent of taxpayers are relieved. Those with the highest incomes are supposed to pay for this. Accordingly, taxpayers with the rich are to pay "an additional temporary crisis levy".
- Germany Fund for the Restructuring of the Economy
According to the guiding motion, the SPD wants to "re-establish and continue" the solidarity surcharge, which is now only paid by the highest incomes, in order to finance the climate-neutral restructuring of the economy and digitalization. The SPD also wants to set up a state Germany fund from which investments in promising climate-neutral projects will flow. It is to be financed by borrowing from the state, but "above all" by "the mobilization of private capital," according to SPD General Secretary Kevin Kühnert.
The SPD motion sees the debt brake in its current form as a "locational and prosperity risk for Germany". It calls for a reform so that more investment in infrastructure, climate protection, digitalisation and education is possible. In several motions from the grassroots and the Jusos, on the other hand, the abolition of the debt brake is demanded.
The unscheduled increase in the minimum wage to twelve euros was one of the SPD's central promises before the Bundestag elections. But high inflation quickly ate up the plus. The regular increase of 41 cents in each of the coming and following years, which has now been set by the minimum wage commission, is "far too low", criticises the leading motion of the party leadership. It therefore wants to "politically review" the current regulations. Several motions from the SPD, on the other hand, call for an immediate increase to 14 or 15 euros.
- Inheritance and gift tax The SPD leadership wants to reform the inheritance and gift tax
in such a way "that multimillionaires and billionaires contribute more to the common good." According to Kühnert, the main aim is to close taxation gaps in the transfer of business assets.
Demands for a higher minimum wage
The left wing of the SPD is also campaigning for a demand for a minimum wage of 15 euros to be adopted at the Social Democrats' national party conference this weekend. "Low wages and rising prices are the breeding ground for social frustration," SPD politician Erik von Malottki told Spiegel magazine on Monday. Malottki is co-chairman of the left-wing group "Forum DL21" in the SPD parliamentary group.
Several Social Democratic state associations, the Jusos and the Working Group for Employment in the SPD also support the demand for a higher minimum wage. (Editing with agency material)