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Basic security: Employer President welcomes CDU’s citizens’ benefit plans

Basic security: Employer President welcomes CDU’s citizens’ benefit plans

Critics accuse the CDU of an attack on the welfare state. Now employers are joining the Christian Democrats.

Employers’ President Rainer Dulger has welcomed the CDU’s plans to reform and tighten citizens’ benefits. “We need a fundamental overhaul of the citizens’ money system,” said Dulger to the German Press Agency in Berlin. Yesterday the CDU presented its ideas for a radical restructuring of citizens’ money into a “new basic security” with more binding requirements and sanctions. Sharp criticism of the plans came from social associations, among others.

“It is unspeakable that this debate is again fueling prejudices against people receiving basic security,” said the CEO of the Social Association of Germany (SoVD), Michaela Engelmeier, to the newspapers of the Funke media group. Instead of fighting for better wages and ensuring that work is really worth it, the CDU is playing the poorest in society against each other. “This only fuels discord in our society and encourages the enemies of democracy.”

The SPD, the Greens, the Left Party, the German Federation of Trade Unions (DGB) and the Workers’ Welfare Association also expressed their opposition. Some of them accused the CDU of attacking the welfare state. CSU leader Markus Söder, however, said that the sister party was fully behind the CDU plans.

Plea for an “accurate welfare state”

Employer President Dulger said: “We have to turn the welfare state upside down.” What is needed is an effective welfare state that focuses on those in need and is resistant to abuse. “I therefore welcome the CDU’s proposals for citizens’ money.”

The CDU wants to implement sanctions faster, more easily and less bureaucratically. If a recipient of basic security who is able to work refuses work that is reasonable for him (“total refuser”) without any objective reason, it should be assumed in the future that he is not in need, says the party resolution. “The name “citizen’s money” is misleading and is an expression of the political concept of an unconditional basic income.”

Dulger said: “We have almost four million people in the citizen’s benefit system who can work – that’s too high.” In order for workers to arrive in companies, the focus must be much more on activating and placing them in work. Dulger called for obligations to cooperate, “which must also be demanded in practice.”

Critical voice from the CDU social wing

However, criticism of parts of the CDU plans also comes from its own social wing. The vice-chairman of the Christian Democratic Workers’ Association (CDA), Christian Bäumler, told Südwestrundfunk (SWR) that a complete and permanent abolition of basic security would be incompatible with the Christian view of humanity. “In a country like Germany, we must not let anyone starve or become homeless.” Bäumler is CDA state head in Baden-Württemberg and thus also contradicted CDA federal head Karl-Josef Laumann, who had described the concept as a “very balanced proposal”.

Job centers can cut off citizen’s benefit for unemployed people for a maximum of two months if those affected consistently refuse to take up work. The traffic light coalition initiated these tightening measures as part of its austerity measures for the federal budget.

SoVD boss Engelmeier argued that anyone who wants to get people into work needs more funds for the activation and placement offers of the job centers, said Engelmeier. “To deny needy families the minimum subsistence level to which they are constitutionally entitled is the wrong approach.”

Expert for “middle ground”

Labor market researcher Enzo Weber from the Institute for Labor Market and Vocational Research (IAB) in Nuremberg sees a need for corrections at some points in the citizen’s benefit system, but advocates a “middle ground”. “The traffic light coalition had significantly relaxed the sanctions rules, the CDU now wants to tighten them too much,” he told “Welt”. “It would be better to find a middle ground, for example to reduce benefits more quickly and for a longer period of time if people refuse to take up work, instead of stopping them altogether.”

After a reform by the traffic light coalition at the beginning of 2023, citizens’ benefit replaced the previous Hartz IV basic security (unemployment benefit II). It is intended to secure a living for people who can work but whose income is not enough to live on. Those affected should be helped to gain a foothold in the labor market with advice, training and further education.

Source: Stern

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