CDU leader Friedrich Merz has reiterated his criticism of the planned citizen benefit - but offers the federal government the support of the Union for a rapid increase in the standard rates of basic security.
The head of the Union faction said in the ARD "Tagesthemen" that he wanted to "take the edge off this discussion a bit". On Monday he will propose to the CDU party executive and the executive of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group that "we offer the federal government to make a binding decision by the German Bundestag on raising the standard rates this week". The rates that apply to the old Hartz IV system must be raised as soon as possible. That must happen no later than January 1st.
"And then we have to talk about this system change that is being made with this so-called citizen money," Merz continued. Merz referred to the planned protective assets and waiting periods, with which the Union did not agree.
Union criticizes the lack of incentives
The citizen's income planned for January 1 is to replace the previous Hartz IV basic security. The aim is to put those affected in a position to be able to concentrate more on further training and looking for work. They should be put under less pressure by the job center. The standard rates of basic security should increase. Single people should receive 502 euros a month and young people 420 euros. Today, single people receive 449 euros.
According to the Federal Ministry of Labor, assets and suitability of the apartment, among other things, should only be checked after 24 months of receiving the basic income (waiting period). In addition, it is planned that assets up to EUR 60,000 and up to EUR 30,000 for each additional person in the household should not be taken into account (protected assets).
Union politicians warn against abuse of benefits. They also complain that there are no incentives to return to work. Even changes made by the SPD, Greens and FDP factions to the original plans did not convince them. The prime ministers of the CDU and CSU could block the project in the Bundesrat.
Green parliamentary group leader accuses Union of mood mongering
The chairman of the CSU state group in the Bundestag, Alexander Dobrindt, told the "Augsburger Allgemeine" that citizen income was the wrong approach. The principle of demanding and promoting is given up by the citizen money. Despite numerous vacancies, the coalition's plans would undermine incentives to take up work. "This means that the benefit is cemented and demotivation is promoted instead of taking up work." Dobrindt said: "While skilled workers are being sought all over the country, the traffic light promotes social benefits and also creates new incentives for immigration into our social system."
Green parliamentary group leader Andreas Audretsch accused the Union of "shabbiness" in the dispute. "As a traffic light, we adjusted our draft law on citizen income, responded to criticism and approached the Union with an outstretched hand," Audretsch told the newspapers of the Funke media group (Monday). "The Union reacts to this with more fake news and a competition of shabbiness." The Union is not above shamelessly copying false figures and graphics from AfD-related newspapers for its campaign. "All with just one goal: to play off people who have little money against each other." The Union must be asked "whether it wants to be responsible for its populist sentiment at the expense of people in our society."
Heil defends citizen money
Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) again rejected criticism of the project. In the newspapers of the editorial network Germany, he addressed the CSU in particular. "It is very obvious that the CSU in particular has argued with wrong numbers on the Internet." That is poison for a political debate. Incidentally, it is clear that work will be worthwhile even after the introduction of citizen income. "We have increased the minimum wage for this, we have child benefit and housing benefit, which will be increased. So we have a wage gap," emphasized Heil. "The Union is telling itself something. It should turn back."
Heil assumed that the reform would be approved by the Bundestag on Thursday. After the Bundestag, it is the Bundesrat's turn. In the chamber of the federal states, the Union Prime Ministers could block the citizen's income. The next Federal Council meeting, where the topic will most likely be on the agenda, is scheduled for November 25th. Should there be a blockage there, the mediation committee would have to decide on the future of the project.
The Mediation Committee is a body of the Bundestag and Bundesrat that is intended to find a consensus if laws passed by the Bundestag do not find a majority in the state chamber. Blocking citizen money could also affect the already tight schedule - and jeopardize the introduction on January 1st.