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Global Economy

In the crash course to become the head of the authorities

Andrea Nahles has completed a crash course. Since the beginning of May, she has been familiarizing herself with the Nuremberg headquarters and their local agencies and job centers. She actually knows the agency quite well. And the topics related to the labor market are not new to her either.

As federal labor minister in the grand coalition, she initiated legislation. In the future she will be given regulations and apparently has no problem with them. "So there is something satisfying about being able to implement something," Nahles recently told ARD, "something that really makes people's everyday lives easier, I think that's really nice."

Nahles comes from the Eifel and still lives there with her daughter. In Nuremberg she has taken over the office of her predecessor Detlef Scheele on the first floor of the building. She will also travel a lot – also to Berlin. There Nahles should use her good connections to Hubertus Heil, the Federal Minister of Labor, and Olaf Scholz, the Federal Chancellor. The three have known each other for a long time. It's hard to imagine that Heil and Scholz don't involve them when it comes to things to do with the job market. She pushed ahead with the idea of developing the controversial Hartz IV into a citizen's allowance. The traffic light government wants to implement this now.

Taking office in times of crisis

Nahles started her new job at times that were not exactly easy: inflation, war in Ukraine, energy crisis, corona pandemic. That leaves its mark on the job market. This is also shown by the figures from Nuremberg for August, which she announced for the first time today. In addition, the economy is also facing the major challenge of digitization.

Nahles sees a major task for the agencies here: further training. As the new head of the authorities, Nahles wants to expand this. People should be qualified and, if possible, before an affected person is fired. But many companies often do not know in which direction they should continue their education. The federal agency must provide advice, Nahles told ARD. "Also because we believe that unemployment can then be prevented in the medium term and people will also get a better salary."

However, further training for the long-term unemployed is also important for Nahles. Finding a job still has priority. If one is found, then it should be started. The government plans to change that in favor of qualifications. A clear yes to this comes from the new BA boss.

A labor minister with assertiveness

As Labor Minister, Nahles was generally recognized and assertive. In 2015, she pushed through the statutory minimum wage in Germany. It was also she who presented an alternative to the Hartz IV reforms, which were hated by large parts of the SPD.

Her career as SPD party leader was less successful. After election defeats and constant cross-shots from many colleagues, Nahles resigned from all offices after just one year and gave up her Bundestag mandate a few months later.

Nahles' trouble

In the past two years she has gained her first experience as head of an authority. She was president of the Federal Post and Telecommunications Agency, but that also meant she was a little removed from the issues that she said were very important to her. The passionate social politician didn't say no when she was offered the job at the Federal Employment Agency.

She is now the first woman to head the agency. And she has an underage daughter. Work-life balance? Women are asked that – men actually never. That annoys Nahles. But she answers to show other women that it can be done.

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