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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Social: Controversy over citizen income: Traffic light wants to continue negotiating

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The traffic light continues to rely on a compromise in one of its central social projects. But there still seems to be a long way to go before an agreement with the opposition is reached.

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In the dispute over citizen income, the traffic light coalition has confirmed its willingness to negotiate. “The Free Democrats have already made it clear that they are open to constructive proposals from the Union, such as sanctions, the protective assets or with a view to even more performance-friendly additional income rules,” said FDP Secretary General Bijan Djir-Sarai of the German Press Agency in Berlin. “I’m confident that a quick agreement on citizen’s income can be achieved if the Union participates objectively and results-oriented in finding a common solution.”

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The SPD chairwoman Saskia Esken made a similar statement in the “Tagesspiegel”. There will be a good compromise in the mediation committee. We are ready to negotiate details. But Esken also emphasized: “The basic principles must be preserved.” It is important that “we want to achieve a change in culture in dealing with unemployed people”.

Union against “trust time”

The planned citizens’ allowance is intended to replace the current Hartz IV system. Among other things, the reform provides for higher standard rates and more detailed support for the unemployed. The Union rejects the proposal from Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD). Among other things, she opposes the planned “trust period” of six months, during which recipients of citizen’s income are hardly threatened with cuts in benefits in the event of misconduct. From their point of view, those affected should be granted too much protection.

The draft did not find a majority in the Bundesrat because of opposition from the Union after it had already been passed in the Bundestag. According to the Federal Council, the dispute is now to be resolved in an evening meeting of the Mediation Committee on Wednesday. According to the will of the Federal Government, the Chamber of States is to finally discuss the citizen income law on the following Friday (November 25th).

Merz calls for “fundamental corrections”

It is still unclear whether an agreement will be reached. The CDU chairman Friedrich Merz had recently called for “fundamental corrections” before the Union could agree to such a reform. CDU General Secretary Mario Czaja told the “Reutlinger General-Anzeiger”: “We are still very far apart in our positions.”

The labor market expert at the German Economic Institute (IW), Holger Schäfer, criticized in the “Rheinische Post” among other things the previously planned regulations on the “trust period”: “With the so-called, almost sanction-free trust period, newcomers are given the signal that they are when looking for a job, every day counts when it comes to reintegrating into the labor market: the longer someone is unemployed, the worse their chances of ever returning to a job.”

The “trust period” is one of the catchwords in the citizen money law. The traffic light says they don’t want to put anyone under general suspicion. For this reason, benefits should only be reduced in the first six months of receiving citizenship benefit (“trust period”) in exceptional cases if someone persistently does not cooperate with the job center.

Source: Stern

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