Coalition: Dispute over money: Nighttime wrangling in the Chancellery

Coalition: Dispute over money: Nighttime wrangling in the Chancellery
Coalition: Dispute over money: Nighttime wrangling in the Chancellery

Week after week, day after day, hour after hour: the tug-of-war over the budget is a long one. Chancellor Scholz, Vice Chancellor Habeck and Finance Minister Lindner are continuing it at night.

The heads of the federal government continued their hours-long wrangling over the new federal budget beyond midnight. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) and Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) met at the Chancellery on Thursday afternoon at around 3 p.m. Initially, no agreement was announced in the tug-of-war over the budget for next year, which has been going on for months.

However, there is a provisional target date: at 7 a.m. the SPD and Green parliamentary groups will meet for special sessions to be informed about the status of the discussions. Scholz and Habeck are also expected to attend. According to information from the German Press Agency, the FDP will be providing digital information to MPs at the same time.

Who puts pressure on us – and who tries to fend it off

The SPD had rushed ahead with the announcement of its parliamentary group meeting, thereby increasing the pressure on the three negotiators and their team. On the last day before the parliamentary summer recess, it wants to have clarity about what it will have to deal with after the holidays starting on September 10. Because in the end, it is not the federal government but the Bundestag that decides on the budget – usually in November or December.

The FDP has also made it clear that it does not want to be put under pressure in the negotiations. “We must deliberate carefully. It is about the stability of our public finances in an unsettled global situation,” FDP leader Lindner told the German Press Agency.

What is being argued about

The dispute escalated because the difficult economic situation meant that many billions of euros in tax revenue were missing to finance all the ministries’ spending wishes. The three-way meeting therefore met again and again. In the evening, there was talk of a gap of around 10 billion euros that still needed to be closed.

In view of the financial burdens caused by the war in Ukraine, the SPD in particular is pushing for the debt brake to be suspended again in order to have more room for investment. Lindner’s FDP is not considering this. However, the SPD rejects the cuts in the social budget that he favors – even if he is not talking about cuts, but rather about curtailing further increases. Negotiations are also underway on a package of measures to stimulate the weak economy.

How the seconds argue

Sub-organizations of the respective coalition parties once again used the media to drum up support for their positions – and for their chief negotiators not to go too far to accommodate the others in the search for compromise. Social associations and business also continue to promote their views.

– Jusos and Green Youth: “A budget cut in the current situation is extremely dangerous,” warned the chairman of the SPD youth organization, Philipp Türmer, in the “Stern” newspaper. A lot of money must be spent on sufficient housing, good schools and a reliable railway, there is no other way. His Green colleague Svenja Appuhn demanded in the same magazine: “The Greens must not agree to this budget agreement if savings are again made at the expense of the weakest and poorest.”

– Young Liberals and Young Union: The young members of the coalition partner FDP and the opposition Union are resisting this. “In the budget negotiations, campaign vehemently for the preservation of the debt brake and show the courage to set clear priorities,” says a letter to the three chief negotiators signed by Juli leader Franziska Brandmann and JU leader Johannes Winkel, among others, and reported on by “Spiegel”. “Our future and the future of future generations depend on it.”

– Social associations: They warn against cuts in the social sector. “That would only fuel the division of society, and we can see what that can lead to in the election results in France,” said SoVD chairwoman Michaela Engelmeier to the newspapers of the Funke media group. VdK President Verena Bentele seconded: “Many people are dissatisfied and uncertain. Cuts in the social sector would only add fuel to the fire.”

– Economy: “We will get more money into the state coffers through growth, not through debt or through even greater burdens, especially for the economy,” said the President of the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), Peter Adrian, to the Funke newspapers. “The general conditions in Germany are not right at the moment: costs are too high, there is too much bureaucracy, procedures are too long and analogue with outdated infrastructure.” Structural reforms are therefore necessary.

What the viewer says

The chairman of the CSU Bundestag members, Alexander Dobrindt, was skeptical. “I don’t see any agreement in sight. And that’s why it’s more likely that things will get worse than somehow better,” he told the Welt television station.

Source: Stern

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