After the agreement between Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and the opposition party CDU on the reform of the taxes and social issues, there is a generally optimistic mood in Germany. Germany has already been more productive than the other EU member countries, even though it paid several billion EUR to the European Union and had to afford 25 billion EUR for persons seeking asylum every year. Now a new "economic miracle" is expected. Among other things, a law has been enacted which forces almost a million citizens currently obtaining social welfare to accept any job proposed to them, according to the motto "Whoever is able to work, must work." The reform will be continued in the year 2004. Friedrich Merz of the CDU proposed a lower uniform tax-rate without exceptions; this would be a revolutionary reform. In this context, let me point to a country that also has a German president - Slovakia, which is going to join the EU on May 1st, 2004. From January 1st on, there will be uniform income, corporation and value added taxes of 19 %. The editor of "Fortune", Steve Forbes, has praised Slovakia as an investors' paradise. In the meantime, almost all EU candidate countries are considering a flat-tax similar to the Slovak model. Competition is forming; and Germany is participating.
It would be necessary to remodel the financing of the EU in order to achieve a more equal distribution of the expenses. An important step would be to make agriculture part of the national agenda. The reason for this demand is that developing countries are not able to sell their agricultural products because they cannot compete with the strongly subsidized products from EU member countries.
Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defence, has expressed several times using different words that he is fed up with France believing itself to be a world power - "France is not everything, and most of all it is not Europe"; French politicans may only speak for France itself.
Germany is increasingly becoming aware of its responsibilities for Europe and for the world. No longer does France dominate German politics. Chancellor Gerhard Schröder is of the opinion that Germany's power must be expressed in new Europe. There's no "cheque-book diplomacy" like under Kohl's government; conflicts are no longer resolved by German money.
The convention at which the EU Constitution was to be initiated has failed. Poland and Spain insisted on the distribution of votes that had been proposed in Nice and rejected the suggestion of the constitution. In Nice the decision was made that Germany, France, Italy and the UK get 29 votes each, while Spain and Poland get 27. This was a great injustice towards Germany. However, French president Chirac insisted on this proposal; it was important for him that France get the same amount of votes as Germany. This was the root for the failure of the constitution convention. It is good that Schröder has not given in this time.
French president Chirac is not embarrassed about ignoring European rules. He perceives only one aspect of Europe: namely, how France may profit from it. This shows that his government is in great trouble: it is unlikely that the state-finances will be restored to profitability in the near future.
After the failure of the constitution convention, French politicians have made the suggestion to found the EU again. This seems to be a good idea. My suggestions: The number of votes in the individual institutions ought to be distributed according to the size of the population: one vote per million citizens. The European Parliament and the EU Commission ought to be located in Berlin because this city is situated close to the center of the EU. Moreover, the members of parliament would be more secure since the level of criminality is lower than in Brussels.
A German training ground for new cadres for the higher diplomatic and administrative services has recently been founded. There are both strict entry exams and a severe selection during the study. The final mark will decide the order of precedence how people will be utilized.
Reform of the UN Security Council: Secretary General Kofi Annan demands a radical reform of the structure of international security, comprising a reform of the security council. It is time for Germany to get a permanent seat in the security council (i.e. either an additional seat or in exchange for the seat of a less important country such as France).
Russia's President Putin has succeeded in the parliament (duma) elections. His party, "United Russia", gained 37.1 % of the vote. Together with several smaller parties, it holds a 2/3 majority of seats. The results for the Communists were fatal: their vote was halved. - Under Putin's leadership, the gross national product has rose by 7.5 % in the year 2003.
NATO has to remain a corner-stone of Western civilization; by the construction of a European security alliance dominated by France, Chirac tries to sustain his world-power dreams. The idea of creating a EU headquarter at Tervuren, a suburb of Brussels, was an attempt of Chirac to gain domination over the EU; in the meantime the plan has failed due to the Europeans' resistence.
German chancellor Schröder has paid a visit to China; there he has promised to export the Hanau Plutonium factory. What a foolish idea: exporting a Plutonium factory to a country ruled by a dictator? That's just like exporting it to Kim Jong-il. (After all, it's possible to build plutonium that can be used for constructing nuclear weapons!) I'd suggest not to export the factory, but to run it in Germany.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung comments (roughly translated): "In reality Germany is one of a few countries in which there are people who can take responsibility for the highly dangerous handling with plutonium. The requirement for this is an open society that has reliable controll instances and a high work ethos concerning technological matters. Therefore, passing this technology on is a less responsible act than using it here."
In another article, it was suggested that the competition for the Chinese market will become more fierce in the Western countries. "One has to take care that this cooperation will not result in dependency. Several enterprises and citizens fear that they will soon only be exploited by the big partner and deprived of their technological advantage."
The Free Democratic Party (FDP) of Germany would like to enact measurements to foster children's talents already at an earlier age. This has been inspired by to the depressing placing of Germany in the "Pisa" survey. The FDP's suggestion is: 3-year-olds may have a free half-day kindergarten place. At the age of 5, children are obliged to attend some sort of pre-school; gifted ones must already enter school at this age. This is considered important because the intelligence development is already far advanced at that age: 5-year-olds have 50 % of their final intelligence, and 8-year-olds have 80 %, so the earlier they're supported, the better for their personal development. The educators' education is also to be reformed: Future pre-school educators are to be educated at university.