An unhappy business
The new government's reforms worry German bosses
FOR German businesses, the elections were bad enough.
In September voters denied the business-friendly, small-government Free Democrats the 5% of the vote required to stay both in parliament and in the centre-right coalition government.
The election result has led to a grand coalition between Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, its Bavarian sister-party, the Christian Social Union, and the leftish Social Democrats.
Though the SPD finished well behind the CDU-CSU, their coalition agreement, signed at the end of November, looks to many like a wishlist for the left.
Business and financial leaders are barely bothering to conceal their disappointment at a new national minimum wage, increased pension payments, lower retirement ages for some workers and new pension entitlements for some stay-at-home mothers.
The head of the Federation of German Industry, Ulrich Grillo, called it a wasted chance that would submit the German economy to new stress tests.
The Cologne Institute for Economic Research has compared the agreement to a cheque without the funds to cover it.
Company bosses are more circumspect than leaders of industry bodies about criticising Mrs Merkel publicly. But they too are wary.
One German chief executive complains that the chancellor ignored structural reform when she had a business-friendly partner in the Free Democrats, and frets that she can hardly be expected to find new courage with the SPD.
A lobbyist for another big company says that with the Free Democrats you didn't need an interpreter to explain industry's concerns to the government, but now he fears he will.
He grumbles that Mrs Merkel understands the importance of a free economy but does not actually understand what it means.
He even praises Gerhard Schr?der, Mrs Merkel's predecessor and a Social Democrat.
Mr Schrder would listen, ask questions, and then say I can do this; I can't do that.
Mrs Merkel does listen carefully—but then keeps her own counsel.
The CDU-CSU has kept one promise: the coalition treaty pledges not to raise taxes, which the parties of the left all favour.
Growth-friendly spending, such as on infrastructure and research, will increase.
But Deutsche Bank estimates that social spending will rise by three times as much.
Businesses are far less happy about changes that will affect the labour market.
Germany's best-performing, export-oriented companies will be little affected by the minimum wage, as they employ few low-skilled workers.
But the ability to employ workers on short-term contracts will be curtailed.
Some firms have been criticised for abusing such methods as a way of keeping workers from benefits that full-time employees would receive.
But now a tool that has made the labour market more flexible, and helped to bring unemployment down, will be made harder to use.
Energy policy is a particularly sore point.
Germany's renewable-energy law has boosted green sources through guaranteed high prices for renewable power, preferred access for renewables to the grid and easier financing, from a tax on electricity bills.
German industrial electricity prices are among the highest in Europe.
Power-hungry industries get partial relief from the tax that finances renewable subsidies; but they complain nonetheless, of a lack of long-term clarity in energy policy.
Firms are voting with their euros.
The value of fixed capital in energy-intensive industries has declined over the past decade.
As companies' kit is wearing out, they are simply not replacing it, or investing abroad.
The coalition treaty speaks of an energy policy triangle of sustainability, supply security and affordability, but fills in little detail about how the government can achieve all three competing goals.
The government has set a deadline of April 2014 to publish a fundamental reform of the renewable-energy law, which it hopes to pass by summer.
Udo Niehage, the head of government relations at Siemens, a big engineering firm, is not panicking yet.
He is certain that the coalition understands the worries of German businesses, and praises Ms Merkel's toughness and cleverness.
She is certainly good at wrong-footing political opponents, and so it is possible that the coalition deal is an unreliable guide to what the new government will actually do.
But the lack of certainty about future plans is the loudest complaint about the chancellor coming from businesses.
Trusting in her cleverness is not enough.
1.require to 要求
Drain piping may require to be protected against freezing.
These objects require to be quarantined on the spot.
2.lead to 通向；导致
That can lead to serious consequences.
All these ideologies lead to repression.
3.expect to 期许
We might also expect to see more trade in services.
Experts expect to throw away some early work.
4.far less 远不及
Hiring staff and building up internal capabilities costs far less.
However, the mood elsewhere in asia was far less sanguine.