Before the government declaration in the Bundestag, Union politicians demanded leadership from Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) in the budget crisis. The Chancellor must explain how he wants to put the 2023 and 2024 budgets on a solid footing, said Union parliamentary group vice-president Jens Spahn to the “Rheinische Post”.
Scholz wants to speak in the Bundestag this morning (10 a.m.) about the traffic light government's budget crisis. A two-hour debate is planned following his government statement. It is expected that the opposition will sharply attack the government over the unconstitutional debt maneuver.
Kretschmer: Prevent national crisis
The Federal Constitutional Court had declared the reallocation of 60 billion euros in the 2021 budget to be null and void. The money was approved as a Corona loan, but was subsequently intended to be used for climate protection and the modernization of the economy. Now it is no longer available. At the same time, the judges decided that the state was not allowed to reserve emergency loans for later years. Because the federal government has done this, loans worth almost 45 billion euros are now to be subsequently approved for the current year.
The opposition had urged Scholz to comment on the consequences of the verdict in the Bundestag or with a television speech. The Chancellor then released a video message on Friday. In it, he assured citizens that they would make quick decisions about how to proceed and emphasized that state aid in particular emergencies was still possible. However, there are now clear guidelines for this.
North Rhine-Westphalia's Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst complained that the traffic lights had managed to ruin Germany's reputation as an anchor of stability in two years. The Chancellor has it in his own hands to turn things around - "with honesty instead of constant tricks," he told the Editorial Network Germany (RND). Saxony's head of government Michael Kretschmer (both CDU) told the "Tagesspiegel" that the aim was to prevent a state crisis.
Union wants to examine supplementary budget
On Monday, the cabinet launched a supplementary budget for the current year and thus also the first steps towards suspending the debt brake in the Bundestag. Union parliamentary group leader Friedrich Merz announced a close examination of the supplementary budget. Only then will the parliamentary group decide whether to take the matter to the Constitutional Court, said Merz, who is also the CDU chairman. With the construction planned by the traffic light, there seems to be a way to make the supplementary budget conform to the constitution.
"That doesn't mean that we agree to the budget. I don't see that," emphasized Merz and added: "But I don't see the question of whether we'll sue against it at the moment." However, everything is open for the 2024 budget, which still needs to be revised by the traffic light. "If the federal government is of the opinion that it should also declare an exceptional emergency situation for 2024, then I do not see this as constitutional, at least from today's perspective." The Union will then take action again if necessary.
Lindner expects tough negotiations
Finance Minister Christian Lindner has already prepared the traffic light factions in the Bundestag for tough negotiations about the budget for the coming year. “Considerable efforts will still be required to finalize the 2024 federal budget,” writes the FDP politician in a letter to the SPD, Greens and FDP factions, which is available to the German Press Agency. "We will have to have intensive discussions that will not always be easy."
FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr meanwhile swore citizens to adopt austerity measures in the next few years. “We will have to exercise moderation well beyond this election period,” he told “Stern”. He also confirmed in the ARD “Tagesthemen” that the FDP supports the debt brake.