Long-Run Fiscal Sustainability in Germany

Symposium jointly organized by the IMF, Bertelsmann Foundation and the Institute for Economic Research
November 20, 2006
Berlin, Germany

The International Monetary Fund, together with the Bertelsmann Foundation and the Institute for Economic Research (Ifo), have organized a Symposium on Long-Run Fiscal Sustainability in Germany to be held in Berlin on November 20, 2006.

Demographic change in Germany will enter an acute phase from 2010 onward when the "baby-boomers" start retiring. This is projected to cause a sharp rise in public expenditure at all levels of government, while public revenue is projected to evolve more gradually in line with moderate GDP growth. Therefore, adjustments in fiscal and other economic policies, and their accompanying legal framework, have to be made to increase the long-term sustainability of the public finances. The symposium focuses on the following three aspects with a view to stimulating and informing the domestic debate on these issues.

  • Transparency: How large are potential fiscal risks and in which areas of public spending are they most pressing? How do politicians at the federal and state level assess the challenges ahead?
  • Options: What are the policy options and what are the conditions for their successful use?
  • Implementation: What is the experience in other countries with the implementation of measures to improve the long-term sustainability of public finances?

The symposium will be open to the public. To register please send an e-mail with your name and affiliation to nicole.kleimann@bertelsmann.de.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the authors only, and the presence of them, or of links to them, on the IMF website does not imply that the IMF, its Executive Board, or its management endorses or shares the views expressed in the papers.

Access the English presentations (this page is available in German only)


Monday, November 20, 2006
9:30am–9:40am Opening Remarks
  Dr. Johannes Meier (IMF)
Bertelsmann Foundation
9:40am–10:00am Session 1
Fiscal Sustainability in the Current Political Agenda
  Sustainable Public Finances - The Opportunities for a Grand-Coalition Govt.
Thomas Mirow
Secretary of State, Federal Ministry of Finance
10:00am–11:10am Session 2
The Public Sector Solvency Gap in Germany—Diagnoses
  Updated Calculations on Long-Run Fiscal Sustainability
Martin Werding
Ifo [15 min]

A Long-Run Fiscal Baseline and Indicative Public Sector Balance Sheet
Bob Traa
IMF [15 min]

Financial Situation at Different Levels of Government
Helmut Seitz
University of Dresden [15 min]

Rainer Wiegard
Federal Minister of Finance, Schleswig Holstein [15 min]

Floor discussion [15 min]
11:15am–11:30am Coffee Break
11:30am–12:45pm Session 3
International Best Practices and Options for Strengthening Germany's Long-Run Fiscal Outlook
  Fiscal Consolidation: The Swedish Experience
Per Molander
Advisor to Prime Minister Göran Persson, former Minister of Finance [15 min]

International Best Practices Fiscal Consolidation
Uwe Wagschal
University of Heidelberg [15 min]

Political Governance
Johannes Meier
Bertelsmann Foundation [15 min]

Christian Kastrop
Deputy Director General, Economic Policy Department, Federal Ministry of Finance [15 min]

Floor discussion [15 min]
12:45pm–2:00pm Lunch
2:00pm–3:00pm Session 4
Cross-Country Perspectives
  Who will Pay; Global Perspectives
Peter Heller
Deputy Director, Fiscal Affairs Department, IMF [15 min]

The Situation in the EU and the Role of the EU Commission
Michaele Schreyer
Former Member of the European Commission, Visiting Lecturer Freie Universität of Berlin [15 min]

Moritz Kraemer
Standard & Poors [15 min]

Floor discussion [15 min]
3:00pm–3:30pm Coffee Break
3:30pm–5:00pm Session 5
Concluding Panel Discussion (Moderator: Johannes Meier)
  Impulse: Georg Milbradt
Prime Minister, Saxony
  • Rainer Wiegard
    Federal Minister of Finance, Schleswig Holstein
  • Hans-Werner Sinn
    President of Ifo
  • Servaas Deroose
    Director, ECFIN: Macroeconomy of the Euro Area and the EU
  • Ajai Chopra
    Deputy Director and Mission Chief for Germany, European Department, IMF
  • Moritz Kraemer
    Managing Director, Sovereign and International Public Finance Ratings, Standard & Poor's
Concluding remarks
Johannes Meier
Bertelsmann Foundation