BERLIN — Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) should scrap planned legislation mandating corporate supply chain monitoring due to the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus, the boss of an economic think tank affiliated to the governing party said Wednesday.
The legislative initiative is backed by the Social Democrats, the CDU’s junior coalition partner in government, but Astrid Hamker, who runs the Economic Council of the CDU representing more than 11,000 companies, told a press conference employers should be shielded from new red tape and the governing program needs to be revisited.
“Every company would adapt its orientation to the given framework conditions, and we also demand that from politicians,” said Hamker.
In response to the coronavirus, the German government has set out plans to funnel billions of euros into programs aimed at plugging holes in the national economy. That includes bailouts for big companies such as Lufthansa, along with wage support schemes and a €130 billion stimulus package.
Less than a year out from a federal election, Hamker also said a revised coalition deal should commit to returning to a balanced budget by 2022 and keep a lid on taxation.
The CDU and SPD remain locked in talks over plans for the supply chain law, which would force companies to monitor their global supply chains and potentially hold senior executives responsible for wrongdoing. The plan was to get the national law in place by the end of the current government term in October 2021 but progress has been slow amid fierce industry lobbying.
“It is … incomprehensible that the grand coalition [between the CDU and SPD] is unwaveringly adhering to the coalition agreement despite the dramatic situation,” said Hamker.