In the draft for a new basic program, the CDU is relying on far-reaching changes to migration policy – and further far-reaching reforms. Discussions are inevitable.
The CDU leadership wants to prepare itself for a change of power with a radical system change in asylum policy, commitment to a German dominant culture and nuclear power as well as reforms in pension and labor market policy. “If there were an early federal election, we would be ready,” said the head of the policy commission and CDU general secretary Carsten Linnemann on Monday when presenting the first draft of a new policy program in Berlin.
People in Germany are unsettled and need orientation and support, said Linnemann. “And we will provide this orientation with this basic program.” His deputy on the policy commission, Thuringia’s CDU leader Mario Voigt, said that the program shows “that we are returning to old strengths, but at the same time we are also courageously attacking new issues.”
The 70-page paper is entitled “Live in freedom. Lead Germany safely into the future”. The new basic program is to be officially approved by the board on January 12th and 13th in Heidelberg. The draft will then be discussed with the members and approved at a party conference in Berlin in May. Linnemann said he expected up to 1,000 amendments.
The CDU initiated the process of a new basic program after losing power in the 2021 federal election. The current basic program dates back to 2007.
Key points of the draft:
Migration: concept of safe third countries
According to the draft, anyone who applies for asylum in Europe should be transferred to a so-called safe third country and undergo a procedure there. “In the event of a positive outcome, the safe third country will grant the applicant protection on site.” The paper stipulates that after the third country concept has been successfully established, “a coalition of the willing within the EU will annually accept a contingent of vulnerable people from abroad and distribute them among the coalition members.”
With a quota there would be an upper limit for immigration – the CDU does not give a figure for this. The CDU does not affect the fundamental right to asylum. Linnemann said that they wanted to ensure that those who really needed protection could come and that illegal migration did not gain any further momentum.
Leading culture: Confession to Israel’s right to exist
“Everyone who wants to live here must recognize our guiding culture without any ifs and buts,” it says in the draft. This included respect for the dignity of every human being, fundamental and human rights, the rule of law, respect and tolerance, and recognition of Israel’s right to exist. “Only those who commit to our dominant culture can integrate and become German citizens.”
Bundestag member Serap Güler, also Linnemann’s deputy on the policy commission, said that many consider the Basic Law to be the guiding culture. “But we need more: We need something that promotes social cohesion as a whole, which is a set of rules for society as a whole (…).”
Extremism: “Sharia does not belong to Germany”
The fight is against those who stir up hatred and violence and strive for an Islamist order. “Shariah does not belong to Germany,” the draft says: “Muslims who share our values belong to Germany.” The CDU is also distancing itself from a sentence made by then Federal President Christian Wulff (CDU), who said in 2010: “Islam now also belongs to Germany.”
Compulsory social year and language tests
The draft provides for a compulsory social year for all school leavers based on a uniform regulation. Every child should take a uniform and compulsory language test at the age of four.
Pension: There is a lot to be said for increasing working lives
If pensions are to be kept affordable, there is much to suggest that the working life of those who can work should be increased and that the standard retirement age should be linked to life expectancy. Mandatory funded pension provision should be introduced for everyone – government subsidies are needed for people with low incomes. Anyone who wants to continue working voluntarily after reaching statutory retirement age should have their salary tax-free up to a certain amount.
Budget: Against shadow households
The CDU is once again supporting the debt brake as a requirement for intergenerational justice. Shadow budgets such as debt-financed special funds are fundamentally rejected – they “may only be set up in extremely exceptional cases and may not later be reallocated for other purposes”.
Small and medium incomes should be relieved and working pensioners should be given better tax treatment. “Anyone who receives social benefits and can work should work.” Anyone who wants to work more than before should find attractive conditions to do so. “That’s why we want to make overtime tax-free for full-time employees.”
In special threat situations in which only the Bundeswehr has specific capabilities to avert threats, it must also be allowed to be deployed domestically. The Bundeswehr’s serious capability gaps would have to be closed within ten years.
The CDU emphasizes: “Germany cannot currently do without the nuclear power option.”
The CDU is for gender-equitable language, “but against gender coercion”. The CDU wants “no grammatically incorrect gender language to be used in all authorities, schools, universities and other state institutions as well as in public broadcasting.”
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.