German conservatives have agreed the manifesto that will drive their campaign into the general election in September.
In Berlin the Christian Democrats led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, and their allies of the Christian Social Union have put the economy as priority number one – perhaps not surprising since Germany is in the grip of its worst recession since the end of the second world war. “There can’t be a dispute, there is agreement between the CDU and the CSU. In July our national party congress will decide our political positions that won’t be in conflict with the election manifesto,” said CSU leader Horst Seehofer. The campaign will be spearheaded by a two- pronged drop in income tax. The first proposal is to lower the base rate of tax from 14 to 12 per cent, and to raise the threshhold above which higher earners pay the top, 42 per cent rate of tax – from 52,552 euros to 60,000.