Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) appealed to the "spirit of unity" in Germany in view of rising prices and high inflation.
"We are facing a historic challenge," he said on Monday in Berlin after the start of the consultations by the government, trade unions and business associations on the difficult situation, which were dubbed "concerted action".
"The current crisis will not be over in a few months," added Scholz.
Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine has changed everything, the supply chains are still disrupted by the corona pandemic and general uncertainty is growing.
Therefore, it is now necessary to “leave the beaten track”.
The first session of the "concerted action" was a promising start.
"People are feeling the inflation"
The Chancellor emphasized that the fair balance between interests in a spirit of community characterizes Germany.
This spirit must be preserved and strengthened.
With a view to the rising prices for energy and other important goods of daily life, he said that everyone feels it when shopping, when paying for heating costs and when filling up.
That's why the message is important to him: "We stand together and want all citizens to get through this time well."
Employer President Rainer Dulger after the start of the concerted action: "This country is facing the hardest economic and socio-political crisis since reunification", and he added: "Difficult years lie ahead of us".
Steady economic growth, like the country experienced before the corona pandemic and the Ukraine war, is no longer a matter of course.
The chairwoman of the German trade union federation, Yasmin Fahimi, said that there was agreement that there was no wage-price spiral, so that inflation was not driven by high wages.
Dulger, in turn, said: "Wages are currently not a driver of inflation, but people are feeling the inflation." The collective bargaining partners could absorb part of the inflation.
"That doesn't happen in the Chancellery," Dulger stated.
Politicians can help, however, by reducing taxes and social security contributions.
For her part, trade unionist Fahimi said: "It's about the 2023 perspective and it's all about doing everything now to prevent a recession, stabilize locations, maintain value chains and secure jobs."
With Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), Dulger and Fahimi, among others, met with other representatives of the federal government and economists to discuss how the price increases could be mitigated.
The results of the dialogue process that has now started should be available in autumn.
With the so-called concerted action, the Chancellor is pursuing the goal of preventing or mitigating real income losses and at the same time counteracting the risk of a price spiral.
The first meeting was about developing a common understanding of the situation.
In the coming weeks, we will look at ways of responding to this.
Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens),