After more than a year of the traffic light coalition, leading business organizations have clear expectations: the brakes have to be released.

Business associations see a great need for reform in Germany. “We have to get faster, we have to get better,” said Employer President Rainer Dulger of the German Press Agency: “We are over-regulated, we are too slow. We are knowledge giants, but action dwarfs. That’s our problem at the moment. We have to be resolute about it.” Approval processes must be accelerated, the economy needs a bureaucracy brake and no new burdens. From the point of view of Industry President Siegfried Russwurm, Germany must “get out of crisis mode and into creative mode”.

According to the President of the Federal Association of Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services (BGA), Dirk Jandura, Germany must “become more modern, more digital, more flexible and faster – in day-to-day work, in infrastructure or in the implementation of investment projects.” At the moment, there is a relatively strong mania for regulations, reducing bureaucracy must have priority.

According to DGB boss Yasmin Fahimi, she has “nothing at all against debureaucratisation” where it creates relief: “But that must not open the door to general deregulation. If you, as an entrepreneur, want fewer legal requirements and regulations, then it is best to take responsibility for ensuring that they do not become necessary in the first place.”

From Dulger’s point of view, the situation is similar to that in football: “The expectations are huge when the German team goes onto the pitch. But what is delivered is not enough.” There are challenges that are comparable to reunification. “Back then, however, there was a comprehensive reform process with a clear direction.” Today the situation is much more unstructured. “We have a clear skew in the discussion. It’s too much about how money is distributed. And not enough about what we actually want to live on. Political answers are not enough. We need a new agenda for Germany 5.0.”

The federal government must keep its promise and release the brakes on the economy. The President of the Confederation of German Employers’ Associations criticized that the promised moratorium on stress is largely not taking place. “Exactly the opposite of what we actually need is being delivered.” Because the baby boomers will retire from 2025, according to Dulger, there will be a loss of prosperity. “Without immigration and without a rising employment rate, we will fall behind in the competition for prosperity.” This also meant that contributions and taxes were lost. “And demographics are non-negotiable. That’s what will happen if we don’t take countermeasures.”

The General Secretary of the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts, Holger Schwannecke, called for social systems not only to be thought about, but to be acted upon. “The financing of the social systems is currently linked primarily to the factor of work.” That will certainly be a difficult socio-political discussion, said Schwannecke. In the end, however, generational justice and future security of these systems must be guaranteed, companies must have room to breathe and employees must have more net from the gross.

For Russwurm, it is about a manageable plan for the future, especially the decarbonization of the economy. He stands for the expansion of renewable energies, said the President of the Federation of German Industries: But we are not getting anywhere with the power lines. We’re not getting anywhere with the backup power plants. There is no electricity storage worth mentioning.” If the traffic light wants to be a real coalition of progress, it must immediately initiate reforms, especially for investments and innovations – for example in the future energy industry and thus for climate protection. Germany needs the “implementation turbo” to reach the climate targets for 2030 and 2045 to reach.