After a long dispute, traffic lights and the Union agree on a citizens’ allowance. There should no longer be any problems in the mediation committee of the Bundestag and Bundesrat. The law is expected to come into force at the turn of the year.
This Wednesday (7:00 p.m.), the mediation committee of the Bundestag and Bundesrat will deal with the compromise negotiated between the traffic light coalition and the CDU/CSU opposition for a new citizens’ allowance. The agreement is to be sealed in the evening and then passed in both houses this week. This means that the law could come into force on January 1 as planned. Citizens’ income is to take the place of the previous Hartz IV regulations.
In the past few weeks, the Union had opposed central points of the federal government’s project consisting of SPD, Greens and FDP. Countries with CDU or CSU government participation blocked the reform on November 14 in the Bundesrat. It is therefore now the turn of the Mediation Committee. Union faction leader Friedrich Merz (CDU) had already said after the basic agreement on Tuesday that he now expected approval from the Union-governed countries.
502 instead of 449 euros for single people
By far the highest increase in the standard rates since the Hartz start more than 17 years ago is planned. Single people should get 502 instead of 449 euros on January 1st. In the talks with the coalition, the Union had achieved stricter rules for cuts in benefit payments and lower rates for so-called protective assets – i.e. assets that remain untouched when receiving citizen benefits. Both sides then spoke of a viable compromise.
The Greens are counting on the Bundestag and Bundesrat giving the green light to social reform. “The citizens’ income can come and end Hartz IV,” said parliamentary group leader Andreas Audretsch of the German Press Agency in Berlin. “The biggest social reform for 20 years means a further training offensive, a change of perspective in the job centers and sanctions only in moderate stages instead of unobjective harshness,” said Audretsch. The government relies on trust and cooperation. A “cooperation plan” is being drawn up together with the job center and the unemployed. In the event of conflicts, an arbitration mechanism takes effect, similar to mediation.
German Cities Day satisfied
The German Association of Cities was satisfied with the agreement reached. “The basic income improves the instruments for qualifying and educating unemployed people,” said the Mayor of Münster and City Council President, Markus Lewe (CDU), the editorial network Germany (RND). The law anchors participation in the labor market more firmly than before.
The head of the CDU employee wing, North Rhine-Westphalia’s Minister of Health Karl-Josef Laumann, expressed doubts as to whether the citizen’s allowance would improve the placement of the long-term unemployed. The law is a “good basis,” he told the RND. However, he fears “that the employees in the job centers will not have enough resources to implement the spirit of the law”.