The wait for a compromise in the budget crisis continues: Despite days of negotiations between Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck (Greens) and Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) behind closed doors, there has not yet been an agreement on the budget for the coming year in sight.
The federal government will meet for a cabinet meeting on Wednesday. It is eagerly awaited to see whether the budget will also be dealt with. The topic was not on the official list of cabinet topics on Tuesday evening.
Cabinet decision or circulation procedure
So that the budget can be passed this year, the cabinet would ideally give the green light to the plans on Wednesday. However, a decision would also be possible in the so-called circular procedure, i.e. in writing. The budget committee would then discuss the matter first, followed by the Bundestag, the latter probably in a special budget week directly before Christmas. The Federal Council could approve the plans on December 22nd. SPD chairwoman Saskia Esken said on Tuesday evening on the ZDF program “Markus Lanz” that the schedule was ambitious. However, people deserve to be certain.
According to Lindner, around 17 billion euros are missing from the federal budget for the coming year following the Federal Constitutional Court's ruling three weeks ago. The highest German court had declared the reallocation of 60 billion euros to be null and void. The money was approved as a Corona loan, but was later used for investments in climate protection and the modernization of the economy. The judges also decided that the federal government may not set aside loans approved in emergency situations for later years.
The tussle over citizens' money continues
While the traffic light leaders discuss, the wrangling over possible savings in social spending continues. The Union repeated its call for an adjustment to citizens' money. "Our goal must be to get people into work and not to lure them into inactivity. Because of its size alone, the citizen's benefit acts like a decommissioning bonus for some recipients," said the Parliamentary Managing Director of the Union faction, Thorsten Frei, to the "Rheinische Post Office".
According to the Federal Employment Agency, the increase in citizens' benefit planned for the beginning of 2024 cannot be reversed. “The payout processes are already underway,” said a spokesman for the Federal Employment Agency in Nuremberg to the Funke media group (Wednesday). “It is no longer technically possible to implement values for January 2024 other than those previously published.”
FDP advocates “zero round”
According to the federal government's wishes, the more than five million recipients of citizens' benefit in Germany should receive an average of around 12 percent more money by January 1, 2024 - single people will then receive 563 euros. However, because of the budget problem, the debate about the amount of citizens' money flared up again. Both CDU leader Friedrich Merz and CSU leader Markus Söder consider the increase to be unreasonably high. The traffic light party FDP is also pushing for a reassessment of the standard rates in view of the weakening inflation.
The chairman of the FDP parliamentary group, Christian Dürr, pleaded in the “Bild” for savings in the year after next. "If citizens' money increases more than inflation in 2024, there will have to be a zero round the following year. Legally, that is also possible. Anything else would be a wrong signal." He also called for a recalculation of the procedure.