Social: citizen money dispute: Merz asks traffic lights to make concessions

CDU leader Friedrich Merz has asked the traffic light coalition to make concessions in the dispute over citizen income.

Social: citizen money dispute: Merz asks traffic lights to make concessions

CDU leader Friedrich Merz has asked the traffic light coalition to make concessions in the dispute over citizen income. "We expect this government to take a step, and a big step towards us, if we want to find a common solution for this so-called citizen money in the next few days and weeks," said Merz on Saturday at the Deutschlandtag of the Junge Union in Fulda.

Incentives should be set so that the unemployed can find their way back into the labor market as quickly as possible. In Germany, all available workers would be needed. "That can also be accompanied by sanctions," said Merz. There should be no waiting periods, but an incentive, "if necessary, sanctions," said the CDU leader. The Federal Constitutional Court has given a very narrow scope for this. "Using this narrow leeway, including sanctions and cuts in the event of persistent refusal to cooperate, is a requirement of the welfare state, including those who pay taxes and social security contributions," said Merz.

Meanwhile, leading representatives of the traffic light coalition are relying on a quick compromise. "I am confident that a quick agreement on citizen income can be achieved if the Union participates objectively and results-oriented in finding a common solution," said FDP Secretary General Bijan Djir-Sarai of the German Press Agency in Berlin. SPD leader Saskia Esken told the "Tagesspiegel" (Saturday): "There will be a good compromise in the mediation committee." CDU General Secretary Mario Czaja told the "Reutlinger General-Anzeiger" (Saturday): "We are still very far apart in our positions."

Esken also accused the CDU and CSU of disinformation. If the Union claims that work is no longer worthwhile if the standard rates are increased, that is "fake news," said Esken on Saturday at the party conference of the Baden-Württemberg SPD in Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance. "Most of all, this line of reasoning is shabby because it pits poor people against the poorest." It is also wrong that the citizen's income cannot motivate people to take up work. "The insinuation of the CDU and CSU shows an abysmal view of humanity," said the SPD leader in front of an audience of around 500 people.

Vogel: "Civic Income has a strong liberal core"

The deputy FDP chairman Johannes Vogel, on the other hand, emphasized the planned performance incentives through the reform. "The citizen money has a strong liberal core - and that is the stronger work and performance incentive for those affected," said Vogel of the German Press Agency. The former head of an employment agency in North Rhine-Westphalia explained: "With the citizen's allowance we want to enable those affected to earn more than they do today." This increases their chances of advancement because it makes their efforts more worthwhile.

"Today, for example, Annika, who grows up in a Hartz IV family and works in a mini job, can only keep 184 euros of 520 euros," said Vogel. "If Ayse, whose parents are financially independent, does the same mini-job, then she can keep 520 euros." The welfare state must build a stable ladder out of dependency for people, Vogel continued. "That's why it would be wrong to only raise the standard rates and leave everything else as it is today with Hartz IV."

From the point of view of the Union, those affected should be allowed to keep too many assets through the reform and have to fear too few sanctions if they do not follow the requirements of the job center. According to its parliamentary director Thorsten Frei (CDU), the Union faction is therefore considering again requesting that only the standard rates be increased by January 1st.

No majority for bill in Bundesrat

After the draft law by Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) did not get a majority in the Bundesrat, the mediation committee of the Bundesrat and Bundestag is to tie down a compromise this Wednesday. As was heard from the coalition, informal talks on this are already in full swing.

Djir-Sarai said: "The Free Democrats have already made it clear that they are open to constructive proposals from the Union, such as sanctions, protective assets or even more performance-friendly additional income rules." Esken said: "The SPD is ready to talk and that's why I'm optimistic." But the basic principles must be preserved. It is important that "we want to achieve a change in culture in dealing with unemployed people".

The labor market expert at the employer-related Institute of German Economics (IW), Holger Schäfer, criticized the planned regulation on the "trust period" in the "Rheinische Post" (Saturday): "With the so-called, almost sanction-free trust period, newcomers are given the signal that they can take their time when looking for a job." Every day counts when it comes to reintegration into the labor market.

In the "trust period", the first six months of receiving the benefits, it should no longer be possible to reduce benefits if someone, for example, has not written any applications or attended training courses contrary to the agreement. Sanctions for repeated non-appearance at job center appointments should, however, continue to exist at the beginning.