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Society

Most Germans think their country is unfair, survey shows

A recent survey shows that the majority of Germans feel that their country is unfair. But they are optimistic that changes planned by the government will increase social justice.

In the survey by the conservative Allensbach Institute, cited by the "Welt am Sonntag" newspaper, 59 percent of respondents felt that Germany was an unfair country, and wanted to see more social justice.

Only 21 percent found that assets and earnings were fairly distributed.

For this reason, 52 percent of those involved in the survey thought it was more important to increase social justice than to strengthen Germany's economic power, with just 26 percent of respondents wanting to focus on boosting German economic competitiveness rather than even out the distribution of wealth.

Coalition plans approved

The survey however also found that the bulk of German citizens felt that the planned social policies to be introduced by the ruling coalition under Chancellor Angela Merkel would improve harmony in society.

Seventy-nine percent thought improved pensions for low earners would contribute to social justice, and 78 percent approved of implementing the planned universal minimum wage of 8.50 euros ($11.72).

Some 70 percent of respondents also thought reducing the retirement age to 63 would benefit social harmony.

Draft bills on these proposed measures have already been formulated, but details are still being discussed, sometimes heatedly, within the coalition government of Merkel's conservatives and the left-leaning Social Democrats.

Germany's tax system has more fans that it did six years ago, however, with only 49 percent of people finding it unfair compared with 78 percent in 2008.

A major concern of Germans appears to be the problem of reconciling family life with work. The survey showed that 71 percent of those asked wanted to see improvements in this area in order to bring about more equal opportunity.

The survey also touched on people's definition of social justice, with 91 percent saying that this goal was achieved only when a worker could live from his or her pay. Ninety percent were of the opinion that a system is only socially just when all children have equal chances of a good school education.

tj/se (epd, AFP, dpa)

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