Labour and social affairs - a core issue
The government is responsible for creating a strong framework for more jobs, promoting social inclusion and maintaining stable social security systems. These tasks touch upon several areas of politics. The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs seeks to identify interministerial solutions and liaises with the relevant Länder and municipalities when implementing its measures. Vital to the success of its social policies is close cooperation between BMAS and the Committee on Labour and Social Affairs, the primary parliamentary decision-making body.
Social policy and the economy
Creating jobs with full social security coverage crucially requires a prospering economy. Without a flourishing private sector there can be no effective welfare state. We feel committed to shaping an economy that works in the best interest of the people. Business is not an end unto itself.
Economic, labour and social policy must be seen in relation to each other, also at the European level. Since growth must be accompanied by social protection, social policy remains a core element of the Lisbon Strategy. We strive to strengthen the social dialogue and civil society participation. If managed prudently, Europe offers enormous opportunities.
One of our most urgent tasks is to ensure the safety of the statutory pension system, a challenge that requires two mutually dependent strategies. First, the effective pension age must adjust to the rising life expectancy. Second, older workers must be given better access to the labour market. In addition, we plan to stimulate private retirement provisions.
Our policies for persons with disabilities and disadvantaged groups are based on a broad social consensus. We have succeeded in creating greater opportunities for participation and realising potential. Barriers have been lowered, obstacles removed and social exclusion addressed. We remain committed to this path towards greater social inclusion.
The labour market
The unemployment rate remains our greatest challenge. We intend to continue developing the instruments that have proven effective in fighting unemployment while seeking new and promising methods. All existing labour market measures will be put to the test.
In addition, more jobs for low-skilled workers need to be created. They have to have access to decent work that pays a living wage. BMAS is currently preparing measures to this end, and will ensure that wages do not decline to an "immoral" level.
Special attention is given to the under-25 age group. The Training Pact will be continued. We remain dedicated to ensuring that no one under 25 stays unemployed for more than three months. The Federal Government is equally committed to reintegrating older unemployed persons into the labour market with the help of its 50plus initiative.