The Economic Council

The Economic Council (Wirtschaftsrat der CDU e.V.) is a German business association representing the interests of more than 11,000 small and medium sized firms, as well as larger multinational companies. We provide our members with a platform to engage in a continuous dialogue with leading decision makers, both in Germany and Europe. We advocate economic policies which best reflect the principles of a social market economy as envisaged by Ludwig Erhard, Minister for Economic Affairs in the German Federal Republic between 1949 and 1963 and one of the co-founders of the Economic Council.

Members
Our members are drawn from all sectors of the business and entrepreneurial community, including banking and finance, insurance, the automative and chemical industries, healthcare and high-tech. Members can be companies, independent business executives or freelance professionals.

The diverse nature of our membership yields significant political weight when addingpolicy proposals to the political agenda. We ensure that the principles of the social market economy are taken into account within the decision making process, not only in Berlin and Brussels but also in the German federal states.

What does the Economic Council do?
We organize over 2,000 events annually at all levels of the council. These range from one-off events aimed at highlighting particular areas of interest to regular annual events such as the Europe Symposium, Conference on Energy Policy and Wirtschaftstag. These events are attended by high ranking politicians, academics as well as members of the business community. They attract significant regional and national media coverage.

The way the economic council works reflects the three tier structure of the association with offices in Berlin, the German federal state capitals (with the exception of Bavaria) and Brussels.

Federal Office Berlin
In large part, the work of the Council is carried out in the federal office in Berlin. The most important bodies in that context are the Federal Expert Commissions. There is one such commission for each policy area in which the economic council is involved. The typical work of an expert commission comprises the engagement with high ranking politicians from the respective policy area (facilitating a two-way dialogue between our members and key decision makers), consulting leading academics in the field and on this basis formulating concrete policy proposals which best reflect the interests of our entire membership base.

Expert commissions are chaired by board members, chairmen and chief executives of some of the most renowned companies in Germany. There are expert commissions in the following policy areas:

•    International Economy
•    European Financial Markets and Monetary Policy
•    Taxes, Finance and Budgetary Policy
•    Family Businesses
•    Labour Market
•    Growth and Innovation
•    Internet and Digital Economy
•    Healthcare
•    Energy Policy
•    Environment
•    Urban Development, Construction and Real Estate
•    Transport, Logistics and Infrastructure

 

Organization


President
Werner M. Bahlsen


General Secretary
Wolfgang Steiger


Federal Director

Dr. Rainer Gerding

Finance
Iris Hund


Press Officer

Klaus-Hubert Fugger

 

Articles of Association
Please find here the latest version of the Articles of Association of Wirtschaftsrat der CDU e.V. (PDF download)

 

Federal Office Address
Wirtschaftsrat der CDU e.V.
Bundesgeschäftsstelle
Haus des Wirtschaftsrates
Luisenstraße 44
D - 10117 Berlin

Tel.: +49/ (0) 30 240 87 0
Email: info@wirtschaftsrat.de

 

The Economic Council Brussels

The Economic Council has been active in Brussels since 1996. Since 2009 we have a permanent office. This is in recognition of the growing significance of the EU in the decision making process with around 70% of legislation now originating from the EU institutions in Brussels and Strasbourg. The representation in Brussels is a contact point for those members of the economic council who already have a presence at the heart of the EU and provides an opportunity for a direct dialogue with key decision makers in the European Commission and the European Parliament.

Chairman, Economic Council Brussels
Christof-Sebastian Klitz
Head of office at Volkswagen Brussels.

Brussels Contact
Anna Rudolph
Tel.: +32 / (0) 486 046 042
Email: a.rudolph@wirtschaftsrat.de

Brussels Office Address
Wirtschaftsrat der CDU e.V.
Landesverband Brüssel
Haus der Europäischen Wirtschaft
Rue Jacques de Lalaing 4
1040 Brüssel - Belgien


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EU Policy

The crisis in the eurozone has laid bare very clearly that a monetary union, without a political union to back it up, cannot provide the solid basis necessary in order to secure long term growth, stability and prosperity across Europe. Although the debt crisis in the eurozone periphery has had negative consequences across the whole continent it has also presented policy makers with the opportunity to correct those failures which were made at the introduction of the Euro and to ensure that a new framework is put in place which ensures the long term future of the common European currency.

Key demands of the economic council:

Introduction of tougher penalties for countries which run excessive deficits

Countries which break the rules and put the whole Eurozone at risk should in future face tougher sanctions.

Adherence to the EU stability pact
Neither the tax payer by way of a permanent rescue fund, nor the ECB through its programme of buying government bonds, should be forced to rescue those countries which continue to implement poor fiscal policies. Economic mismanagement must have harsh consequences.

An EU-budget with a vision for the future
Instead of demanding an increase in taxes the EU should modernize its existing budget in order to better support growth initiatives. Innovation, industrial modernization and sustainable infrastructure projects must be prioritized.

Federal Commission Chairman
Dr. Lutz R. Raettig
Chairman of the Supervisory Board
Morgan Stanley Bank AG

Federal Office Contact
Simon Steinbrück
Advisor, European Financial Market and Monetary Policy
Tel: +49/(0)30 240 87-215
Fax: +49/(0)30 240 87-206
Email: s.steinbrueck@wirtschaftsrat.de


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International Economy

The slogan “Made in Germany” is synonymous with Germany’s strength as an exporter of high-end technological and industrial products. Exports currently account for around half of Germany’s GDP with almost 10 million jobs dependent on external trade, not just within the common market, but also with the USA and increasingly in emerging markets in Latin America and the Far East.
It is not only well known international companies that are responsible for the German export miracle. It is, most importantly, the many “hidden champions” which specialize in niche areas and remain at the forefront of technological innovation.
As such it is vital that Germany continues to play a leading role in removing barriers to international trade. Globalization should be seen as a chance to increase prosperity and not as a threat to job security.

In order to ensure that global trade continues to flourish the economic council calls for:

The Removal of trade barriers and creation of open free markets

The economic council supports open markets and is against all forms of protectionism. Protectionism and the establishmentof cross border trade barriers stifle growth, investment and freedom.

Globalization should be seen as an opportunity, not a threat
For Germany there is no alternative to global economic integration. As an export orientated economy our success is largely dependent on the ability to trade freely in goods and services across the globe.

Multilateral agreements should be prioritized ahead of bilateral deals
A multilateral trade deal within the context of the World Trade Organization (WTO) is favoured ahead of a series of bilateral or regional trade partnerships. Nevertheless, given the difficulties in negotiating binding multilateral agreements, the economic council continues to support regional and bilateral deals.

Successful completion of a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)
Both the US and European markets are among the biggest in the world. For this reason the economic council argues for a quick and successful completion to the negotiations concerning a free trade agreement between the European Union and the USA.

Expert Commission Chairman
Dr. Jürgen M. Geisinger
Member of the Supervisory Board, MTU

Federal Office Contact
Britta Vasters
Advisor, International Economy
Tel.: +49/ (0) 30 240 87 - 214
Email: b.vasters@wirtschaftsrat.de


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Energy Policy

In an industrial nation such as Germany it is essential that the energy supply remains both affordable and reliable. If we are to remain internationally competitive we must all ensure that the third “energy transition” (or Energiewende) within 11 years is a success. For German industry, as well as citizens, insecurity regarding long-term planning is the worst case scenario.

The energy transition will only be a success if all levels of government and all sections in society work together. While the federal, state and municipal levels of government have a duty to ensure that the correct policies are formed which guarantee both affordability and security, members of the business community and society as a whole must cooperate with each other regarding the necessary upgrading and expansion of essential infrastructure. In light of these challenges the economic council’s expert commission on energy has set up a working group on energy infrastructure. The aim of this group is to provide a constructive critique of the government’s implementation of the energy transition.

Key demands of the Economic Council include:

Less state interference in the setting of electricity prices

Today, the average annual electricity bill for a three person household in Germany adds up to around 878 Euro, of which 400 Euro end up in the hands of the state. The total amount of taxes paid on energy consumption increased by 800 % between 1998 and 2011. This financial burden needs to be reduced. Otherwise, the competitiveness of German firms is put at risk.

Renewable energy sources should be brought to the open market as soon as possible
Far from strengthening the expansion of renewable sources of energy, the excessive amount of subsidies granted in recent years has weakened the renewable energy sector substantially. The overriding goal should be to support in particular those methods of renewable energy production which have proven to be the most cost efficient. This will not only ease the financial burden on consumers but also revitalize the whole renewable energy industry. To ensure that the renewable energy sector is fit for the future and to avoid price contortions within the common European market, renewable energy sources need to be brought onto the open market. Furthermore, in the long term an EU-wide standard for renewable energy subsidies must be introduced.

Expansion of existing energy infrastructure requires the support of all stakeholders
To guarantee a secure energy supply for consumers it is essential that barriers to investment in the expansion of the grid are removed. Round table talks at regional level involving all stakeholders are an integral part of the process to convince both politicians and citizens of the necessity of electricity grid expansion. In order to remove potential bottlenecks in the expansion of the grid, the planning permission process should be harmonized so as to apply to all federal states equally. A license should be granted for an initial five year period to allow for a certain amount of long term planning. Energy storage devices should be exempted from system usage charge.

Expert Commission Chairman

Dr. Johannes Lambertz
Member of the Supervisory Board, SAG Group, Langen

Federal Office Contact
Advisor, Dr. Sandu-Daniel Kopp
Tel.: +49/ (0) 30 2 40 87-218
Email: sd.kopp@wirtschaftsrat.de

 

Advisor, Dr. Bernd Weber
Tel.: +49/ (0) 30 2 40 87-206
Email: b.weber@wirtschaftsrat.de


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