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IW Newsletter: Brussels Briefing

11. August 2021
Dear Reader,

the climate debate is dominating this summer, and rightly so. The effects of climate change are becoming visible and sadly tangible, be it through floods or forest fires and urgent action has been called for not least by the UN, based on the latest IPCC report.

As economists, we are taking a look at some related questions, as in this analysis by Finn Arnd Wendland on whether the introduction of the EU taxonomy for sustainable activities will have an impact an ecology and sustainability; or in his paper on how the EU’s 2030 climate targets for road transport and the building heat sector can be achieved. In cooperation with the Wuppertal Institute, our colleague Andreas Fischer aims to shed some light on the “Renewables-Pull-Effect”, i.e. the possible phenomenon that the availability and costs of "green" energy sources may become a relevant location factor for basic materials produced in a climate-neutral manner in the future. This might be even more relevant when taking into account the recent supply bottlenecks and price developments for raw materials and input, as our experts Bardt, Diermeier, Grömling, Hüther and Obst show in their report.

There are, of course, other debates on the agenda this summer. One is the development of immigration in relation to demographic change. In their recent study, our economists Burstedde, Hickmann and Werner analyse the future labour force potential throughout Germany and have some policy recommendations on how to keep it stable. The aging population in Germany is also the reason for a renewed and sometimes heated debate about social security in general and health care and insurance in particular. Our colleagues Beznoska, Pimpertz and Stockhausen have taken this as a cue for checking, whether universal health insurance would lead to more solidarity. Also linked to the debates on labour market is the question of collective bargaining agreements on the one hand and the increasing demand for flexible working conditions on the other hand. In studying the metal and electrical industry sector, our economist Helena Schneider aims to show whether deviation via supplementary agreements could be a useful tool.

And finally, a bit of light-hearted research by our colleague Wido Geis-Thöne on whether the lack of enthusiasm by couples to actually get married is coming to an end, and whether we can look forward to more weddings.

Wishing you happy reading,

Sandra Parthie
Head of Brussels Liaison Office

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