The Briefing

It’s your vote!

And here are the big issues to consider!

September 16, 2021
Reading time 2 min.

🌈 A quick taster for you:

  • Climate change.
  • Reform of the BAföG.
  • Earning more than €450 in a mini-job.

🧐 Why do I care?

Every party that’s standing in the election has put together a program in which they clearly state their goals, and positions, on various issues. In today’s The Briefing (and in our next one too!), we are taking a look at how the parties stand on issues that matter to you.

🔍 What exactly is happening here?

  • Fight against 1.5 degrees
    Climate change is the issue of our generation, and it’s a big issue in this year's elections. For all the major parties, except for the AfD, climate neutrality is one of the most frequently used buzzwords in their programs. The FDP wants to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, the CDU/CSU and SPD by 2045, The Greens by 2041, and The Left by 2035. But what does climate neutrality actually mean? Basically it means balancing carbon emissions and carbon uptake — i.e. not emitting more carbon dioxide than is absorbed. 
    Having targets is always nice, but so much depends on how the parties plan to reach them. The Greens, The Left, the SPD, and the CDU are all proposing — among other things — to expand local public transport in order to make short-haul flights superfluous. The FDP is counting on the privatization of rail to make train travel more affordable — which is what happened in the coach sector when Flixbus tried to beat the competition by offering low prices. The Left and The Greens also want to speed up plans to phase out coal, and they aim to achieve this by 2030. And both those parties, as well as the SPD, are in favor of a speed limit — which is in contrast to the CDU, FDP, and AfD. Want to know more? Find out here.  
  • BAföG - everything new?
    BAföG, aka the ‘Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz’ or Federal Training Assistance Act, provides state funding for students in education or training — and it’s a hot topic in these elections!
    The CDU want to simplify the AufstiegBAföG which provides financial support for further education. 
    The SPD would like to increase the amount of people who are entitled to BAföG, remove age limits, and revert to giving full subsidies which would mean that recipients don’t need to make any repayments.
    The FDP want BAföG to no longer be linked to parental earnings. In addition, it is proposing to have a so-called Midlife-BAföG to support lifelong further education with up to €1000 per year.
    The Left is going one step further by proposing that apprentices receive a minimum wage and be taken on indefinitely at the end of their training. The Left also want to make it possible for people to study even if they’ve completed vocational training, and it would make BAföG repayment-free and independent of parental income.
    The Greens also want a minimum training allowance, and BAföG to be granted regardless of parental income.
    Of course, all of these proposals raise the question of how the parties would finance their measures — and you can read more about this here. 
  • End of the 450€ job?
    There are three main aspects of the labor market that might interest you: minimum wage, mini-job cap, and unconditional basic income. So, what have the parties come up with for this?
    Let's start with The Greens this time, who want to raise the minimum wage (currently at €9.60) to €12, and — among other things — introduce a right to work remotely.
    The Left is demanding a minimum wage of €13, and a minimum security of €1200. Errr... a minimum what?! The ‘minimum security’ is their proposed new financial support system to replace the Hartz IV welfare system. With this proposal The Left hope to abolish poverty by raising taxes on the rich to finance the minimum security.
    The FDP want to dynamically link the mini-job earnings limit to the statutory minimum wage. Currently if the minimum wage increases then mini-jobbers have to work less hours, and the FDP want to change this so that the mini-job earnings limit increases whenever the minimum wage increases. However, the FDP hasn't given any specific figures for this.
    The SPD, like The Greens, is proposing a minimum wage of €12, and a legal right to remote working for at least 24 days each year.
    The CDU only talks about the minimum wage in connection with the mini-job ceiling — which it wants to increase from €450 to €550 — and the CDU is clearly against an unconditional basic income. You can find more information about this over 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, or get some extra info from MrWissen2Go.   

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