Christian Ude, Mayor of Munich
Munich City Hall
City Mayors reports news from towns and cities around the world. Worldwide | Elections | North America | Latin America | Europe | Asia | Africa | Events |
Mayors from The Americas, Europe. Asia, Australia and Africa are competing for the annual World Mayor Award. More
City Mayors ranks the world’s largest as well as richest cities and urban areas. It also ranks the cities in individual countries, and provides a list of the capital cities of some 200 sovereign countries. More
City Mayors reports political events, analyses the issues and depicts the main players. More
City Mayors describes and explains the structures and workings of local government in Europe, The Americas, Asia, Australia and Africa. More
City Mayors profiles city leaders from around the world and questions them about their achievements, policies and aims. More
City Mayors deals with economic and investment issues affecting towns and cities. More
City Mayors reports on how business developments impact on cities and examines cooperation between cities and the private sector. More
City Mayors describes and explains financial issues affecting local government. More
City Mayors lists and features urban events, conferences and conventions aimed at urban decision makers and those with an interst in cities worldwide. More
City Mayors reports urban environmental developments and examines the challenges faced by cities worldwide. More
City Mayors reports on and discusses urban development issues in developed and developing countries. More
City Mayors reports on developments in urban society and behaviour and reviews relevant research. More
City Mayors deals with urban transport issues in developed and developing countries and features the world’s greatest metro systems. More
City Mayors examines education issues and policies affecting children and adults in urban areas. More
City Mayors investigates health issues affecting urban areas with an emphasis on health in cities in developing countries. More
City Mayors examines the importance of urban tourism to city economies. More
City Mayors examines the contributions history and culture make to urban society and environment. More
City Mayors describes the history, architecture and politics of the greatest city halls in the world. More
City Mayors invites readers to write short stories about people in cities around the world. More
City Mayors questions those who govern the world’s cities and talks to men and women who contribute to urban society and environment. More
City Mayors profiles national and international organisations representing cities as well as those dealing with urban issues. More
City Mayors reports on major national and international sporting events and their impact on cities. More
City Mayors lists cities and city organisations, profiles individual mayors and provides information on hundreds of urban events. More
Munich Mayor Christian Ude calls
for end to social divisions in the city
By James Monaghan
31 January 2004: In his second decade in charge of Munich, the capital of Bavaria, the city’s Mayor, Christian Ude, is in bullish mood. In an interview with City Mayors he has reviewed his years in office and laid out his future plans for the city.
• Mayor Monitor for Christian Ude: Assess his performance in office
The fifty-seven year old politician is a lawyer with a respectable bibliography of publications - both political and of a more general nature. He has been active in the Munich Social Democratic Party (SPD) since the seventies, and has been Mayor since September 1993, at the head of a coalition between the SDP and the Green Party.
Munich is a left-of-centre island within Germanys most conservative state. Every four years without fail, Bavaria elects the right-of-centre Christian Social Union (CSU) to form the state government. The city is therefore the seat of the Bavarian Prime Minister and other state ministries. Through it hold on state affairs the conservative CSU has significant influence in Munich. The opposing political positions taken by city administration and state government do not, however, seem to have harmed Munich.
Indeed, Mayor Ude told City Mayors that Munich, in comparison with the other major German cities, had the lowest unemployment, the highest purchasing power per capita, the largest number of places of education, by far the highest communal investment budget, the lowest crime figures, the highest cultural and recreational opportunities. Along with Cologne, it has the highest birth rate among German cities - with a surplus of births over deaths for the first time in thirty years, and the best childcare arrangements in Bavaria.
The downside of Munich's prosperity includes a housing crisis caused not only by new recruits to the workforce from outside, but also increasing wealth among Munichs population allowing grownup children to be able to afford a flat of their own. While a poor city will have difficulty looking after disadvantaged sections of the population mere wealth does not solve the social problem. Christian Ude believes that left unchecked, social divisions would increase to everyone's disadvantage. He said: The city administration must actively intervene to provide social housing, must encourage all parts of the population to have their place in society and must offer all families adequate childcare facilities. Good social conditions predispose a society to have low crime rates and reduced inter-class tensions. This reduces the need for high profile policing to combat crime and social disorder. Therefore all classes have a stake in adequate funding for the city authorities.
German cities are currently in difficult financial straits. Less at fault the economy in general, which is showing signs of recovery, is the severe shortfall in income from local business tax (Gewerbesteuer). That shortfall, in turn, is caused by consistent overexploitation of traditional loopholes by big business, such as international firms like Munich-based Allianz Insurance, BMW and Siemens. Such firms want to take advantage of the infrastructure in terms of housing, education, culture and transport, while straining every sinew to avoid business tax and thus leaving the whole burden of paying for the infrastructure on the middle classes and the workers.
The Munich Mayor told City Mayors that the Federal Government must change the law to close business tax loopholes. It must also curtail its own demands on the business tax to compensate the cities. It must stop giving local communities tasks to undertake without supplying the means to fulfil them. The Munich Mayor claims that the State of Bavaria has also been guilty of creaming off large amounts of the business tax from cities. Munich, together with other Bavarian cities such as Nuremberg and Augsburg, is campaigning for the State of Bavaria to fall into line with all other federal states and pay all, not just half of the salaries of teachers in state schools, which currently costs Munich 140 million euros.
Over the coming two years Munich faces many potentially rewarding challenges. In 2005 it hosts the German Garden Show, and in 2006 it will host the opening match of the 2006 Football World Cup as one of the nine German cities where games will be played. The World Cup press centre will also be located in Munich.