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Social: Hardened fronts in the dispute over citizen income

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The Bundestag is scheduled to vote on the new citizens’ allowance on Thursday. But the real acid test comes in the Federal Council. The Union wants to stop the project in the state chamber. A solution is not in sight.

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In the dispute over the federal government’s citizens’ allowance plans, there are no signs of rapprochement between the traffic light coalition and the opposition Union. The CDU chairman Friedrich Merz warned in Berlin on Tuesday that the law in its current form “would almost certainly not find a majority in the Bundesrat in the next week”.

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The labor ministers of four federal states in which the Union is involved in the government are also making a common front against the project. In a key issues paper that is available to the German Press Agency, the department heads from Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein primarily criticize the planned waiting period, after which any assets should only be checked and touched after two years.

However, the traffic light parties, which are dependent on the approval of the CDU and CSU in the Bundesrat, see no scope for further concessions. “Offers of compromise have already been made,” said SPD leader Saskia Esken on the rbb station Radioeins. SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich also emphasized that important information from the federal states had already been received. He therefore called for the topic not to be misused for political debates.

Vote in the Bundestag on Thursday

On Thursday, the Bundestag will vote on the new citizens’ allowance, which is to replace the previous Hartz IV basic security on January 1st. The plan is for the standard rates to rise and for the job center to put less pressure on the unemployed. The Union had made it clear that if there was no approval in the state chamber, the federal government itself would have to call the mediation committee. The planned introduction at the turn of the year would at least be questionable.

Green parliamentary group leader Katharina Dröge described the Union’s resistance as “indecent”, and the FDP chairman Christian Lindner tweeted: “The Union’s populist impulse is based on simplification instead of precision.”

FDP parliamentary group manager Johannes Vogel also rejected the Union’s latest initiative: “Simply increasing the standard rates without improving performance justice and promotion opportunities through a reform in the system, that would be exactly the wrong way.”

However, the head of the Union faction in the Bundestag contradicted the allegation of the blockade. The parliamentary director Thorsten Frei (CDU) criticized that the traffic lights had not spoken in advance about their plans either with the CDU/CSU parliamentary group or with the countries with a union government. So nobody should be surprised about a rejection. CSU regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt also rejected attacks by SPD leader Lars Klingbeil. His accusation that the Union is dividing society is “a tremendous intensification of the political debate”. Merz spoke of a “poisoning of the political climate”.

The CDU leader sees citizen income as the next step towards an unconditional basic income. “Do we really have to further expand a transfer system and give even more incentives not to return to the job market so quickly?” asked Merz at the industry day of the Dehoga restaurant association. Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) emphasized at the same event that two-thirds of the long-term unemployed have not completed vocational training. The previous Hartz IV system does not get them to catch up on missing school and professional qualifications. “This is not sustainable labor market integration.”

Left calls Union course on citizen income “unchristian”

Critics of the traffic light plans point to the controversial argument that the reform would make those on citizen income better off than people who work for the minimum wage. Left faction leader Amira Mohamed Ali therefore accused the CDU and CSU of playing the two groups off against each other: “I find that extremely unchristian.” The AfD is now pursuing its own concept: Anyone who is able to work and receives basic security for more than six months should be obliged to do “civil work” if they wish.

Source: Stern

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