Socio-political Memorandum for the President of Germany, Joachim Gauck

Political and social scientists at the University of Bremen see it as a sign of appreciation for their many years of research: At an event held in Kassel on 11th September 2014 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Bundessozialgericht [Federal Social Court], the German Head of State, Joachim Gauck, was presented with a memorandum bearing the title “Principles of the Welfare State and Resulting Challenges”. Researchers at the University of Bremen played a central role in compiling the 800-page document. The German President promised that his office in Berlin would promote in-depth discussion on the topic and on the attention paid to social policy in related university disciplines.

More than 300 pages of the memorandum are devoted to the current and future challenges facing the welfare state. The topics dealt with range from the pluralization of family constructs, through altered labor markets and growing national inequality, up to the internationalization of social policy. The other parts contain a comprehensive stock taking of the overall situation. Main contributors to the publication from the University of Bremen are the Collaborative Research Center “Transformation of the State” (SFB 597) and the Center for Social Policy (ZeS). In the words of Professor Stephan Leibfried, lead investigator of the Collaborative Research center and co-head of department at ZeS: “To present a commemorative document to a court in the form of a memorandum is a little unusual, to say the least. Rather than celebrating past achievements, in this case the court used its anniversary celebration to focus attention onto the present dilemma and future of the German welfare state – it’s realm of authority, so to speak.” He goes on to say: “The President is well aware of the need for such a debate – after all, roughly half of the entire state budget and one third of GNP goes on welfare spending. And the disputes that arise usually end up in the Federal Social Court, sometimes repeatedly.”

Strong Bremen participation in the memorandum

Law scholars, historians, philosophers, political scientists, sociologists and economists all played their part in the conclusions drawn in the memorandum’s 38 chapters. The strength of Bremen’s contribution is illustrated by the numbers of authors from the University of Bremen (Olaf Groh-Samberg, Friedhelm Hase, Stephan Leibfried, Steffen Mau, Frank Nullmeier and Herbert Obinger) and other experts who were previously members of the University of Bremen (Stefan Gosepath, Florian Rödl, Ilona Ostner, Manfred G. Schmidt and Peter Starke). The strong Bremen influence is also apparent in a pending follow-up publication bearing the title “Judicial Knowledge Discovery and Science: Decision-making Processes at the Federal Social Court and Research on the Welfare State.”

Two editors with Bremen roots

Two of the editors of the abovementioned two publications have roots in Bremen: Professor Stephan Leibfried and Peter Masuch, President of the Federal Social Court in Kassel since 2007. Masuch was a law student at the University of Bremen from 1972 till 1978, and in the 1980s he was a judge at the Bremen Social Court and the State of Bremen’s Higher Social Court.

The memorandum has been published by Erich Schmidt Verlag:

Here you can find more photos of the event.

If you would like to have more information on this topic, please contact:
Prof.Dr. Stephan Leibfried
University of Bremen
SFB 597 “Transformation of the State”
Phone: +49 421 218-56665
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