Lindner on the budget dispute: “We don’t need a word of power from the Chancellor”

Status: 03/12/2023 8:05 p.m

Lindner remains firm – there will be no softening of the debt brake with him, said the finance minister Report from Berlin. The ministries would have to cancel some of their spending requests. It does not need a word of power from the chancellor.

Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner has pulled the ripcord – the key figures for the 2024 budget were originally supposed to be adopted next Wednesday, but the vote in the cabinet has been postponed indefinitely. “We’re in a difficult position,” Lindner said Report from Berlin and promised: “I will solve the problem now.”

The budget is being debated within the federal cabinet. The ministers of the red-green-yellow government had announced spending requests that were around 70 billion euros above the previously agreed financial plan. But the FDP politician is opposed. He warns of the rapidly increasing interest burden on the federal government and insists on compliance with the debt brake. “We owe that to the younger generation.”

“The state has no revenue problem”

But how can the budget blockade be resolved? Higher taxes are not an option, stressed the FDP politician. “I wouldn’t have a mandate for that,” said Lindner. The state has no revenue problem. “We have a massive spending problem.”

As Finance Minister, he took over a structural budget deficit from the grand coalition at the time – partly triggered by the Corona and energy crises. But also through ever new services and standards that have been granted over the years. As a result, the appetite for additional spending has grown. “This is now a learning experience for politicians,” said Lindner, to stick to the debt brake.

The debt brake is enshrined in the Basic Law. It prescribes a strict credit limit for the federal government, which can only be suspended in emergencies – that was the case, for example, during the pandemic.

Lindner calls for a realistic draft budget

Lindner had previously expressed himself in an interview with “Welt am Sonntag”. There he demanded that the ministries should submit concrete savings proposals. “I will only go into the cabinet when I have a realistic draft budget.”

In the Report from Berlin When asked where, in his opinion, claims could be reduced, Lindner reacted evasively. He merely hinted that he did not support Economics Minister Robert Habeck’s plans to ban oil and gas heating. “That is socially and economically irresponsible,” emphasized the finance minister.

Union and SPD want speedy agreement

The opposition reacted annoyed to the deadlock on the budget question. “The SPD and the Greens in particular have not understood the seriousness of the situation, the fundamentally changed situation caused by the turn of the century and persistent inflation,” said the deputy parliamentary group leader of the Union, Mathias Middelberg of the “Welt am Sonntag” and called for a speedy agreement.

SPD leader Lars Klingbeil also spoke out in favor of a quick solution. Political arguments are part of it, “but some of these arguments take too long for me,” he said at an SPD conference in Dortmund. At the same time, he warned against offsetting social and defense spending against each other.

The Greens and the Left still see room for manoeuvre

While finance minister Lindner sees the problem on the expenditure side and not on the income side, the Greens and the Left consider that the possibility for further income has not yet been exhausted.

There are “massive income problems due to the non-levying of a wealth tax for the super-rich, massive inheritance tax gifts or the waiver of sales tax for stock market products,” explained the left-wing faction’s financial policy spokesman, Christian Görke. These three measures alone would mean revenue improvements of almost 48 billion euros per year, emphasized Görke.

The Green budget politician Sven-Christian Kindler also sees new scope in the federal budget. “The next tax estimate should give some relaxation,” he told the newspapers of the editorial network Germany. “The development is much better than expected.”

At the same time, Kindler called for the reduction of climate-damaging subsidies: “Especially in times of the climate crisis, the reduction of climate-damaging subsidies would bring a double dividend: for the budget and for our livelihoods.”

Lindner: I will submit internal proposals for a solution

In order to get out of the deadlock, the opposition Union, according to the “Welt am Sonntag”, is demanding a word of power from the highest level. “Chancellor Scholz must now intervene immediately to resolve the budget blockade,” said the head of the CSU state group, Alexander Dobrindt.

But Lindner disagrees Report from Berlin. “We don’t need a word of power from the chancellor.” According to the minister, he will shortly make proposals for further proceedings – internally and not via the media.

Budget: Lindner will present key points later

Jan Zimmermann, ARD Berlin, 10.3.2023 08:13 a.m

source site