The traffic light coalition will have to turn to financial policy immediately after its start - in addition to the dramatic corona situation.

The coalition agreement published on Wednesday gives important information, but also leaves a lot open.

Union parliamentary group leader Ralph Brinkhaus criticized the morning after on Deutschlandfunk that the three future governing parties, unlike Schwarz-Rot four years ago, did not present a table clearly showing which tasks are being financed as a priority.

This suggests that there will be conflicts after the start of the coalition.

Manfred Schäfers

Business correspondent in Berlin.

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As the FDP has already announced, it will propose its chairman Christian Lindner for the post of finance minister.

Who he will bring is still open.

According to speculation, his party friends Florian Toncar, Katja Hessel and Christian Dürr are possible parliamentary state secretaries, but the ministry has only two so far.

It is certain that Finance State Secretary Wolfgang Schmidt will move to the Chancellery with Olaf Scholz (SPD) to lead the house as minister.

Nothing is known about the careers of his colleagues Jörg Kukies (for financial markets), Rolf Bösinger (taxes) and Werner Gatzer (household).

Usually a new minister brings his closest colleagues with him.

It was no different with the Budget Secretary.

Supplementary budget necessary

The SPD, Greens and FDP are committed to the debt rule, which, however, should be suspended again next year due to the Corona emergency. The aim is to be able to use credit authorizations that are not required in the next few years by making them available to the new climate and transformation fund. According to reports, it is about an amount of at least 50 billion euros - how much it will be in the end depends on the budgetary conclusion.

With this requirement it is clear that the cabinet of Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has to pass a supplementary budget in December, the Bundestag would have to deal with it in the first reading this year. He could then put it into effect retrospectively at the beginning of next year. In 2022, the Ampel partners expressly reserve the right to carry out another operation based on this model.

Jan Schnellenbach from the University of Cottbus-Senftenberg reminds that last year the net borrowing was well below the credit authorization.

Something similar would be possible in 2021 and 2022 if one limited oneself to the corona loads.

But there are no signs of this in the contract.

"Instead, you will want to misuse the scope," tweeted the economist after the traffic light plans became known.

He considers the extension of the repayment plans for the excessive new debt in the Corona years, which will probably not begin until 2028 and extended until 2058, to be problematic: Düsseldorf is extending the repayment to fifty years.

"Scenarios of horror are nonsense"

The economist Jens Südekum from the University of Düsseldorf points out that the cash outflows from the special assets should no longer be taken into account in the case of the special brake, but only the cash inflow. In plain language: The filling in 2022 will work, later outflows are neutral for the debt brake. All in all, he is more than satisfied: "All the financing options discussed in advance can be found in the coalition agreement and are therefore available".

Südekum lists in brackets: public companies, KfW, cyclical components, repayment, sip from the Pulle 2022. How much should be financed by which instrument remains open. "Also means: scenarios of horror, according to which a wave of austerity is breaking out over Germany and Europe with Finance Minister Lindner, is of course nonsense," he judged with a view to the coalition agreement and at the same time warned to use the playing field of possibilities effectively.

His colleague Schnellenbach raises the question of whether one can actually feed a special fund from the leeway of the credit authorization 2021/22.

He refers to well-known lawyers who said that this does not work because one can only use the leeway from the emergency situation in direct connection with this emergency situation.

“At this step, the traffic light could trip if someone has it checked in front of the Federal Constitutional Court,” he warns.

“So this is going to be tight.

Is there a plan B? "

"Clarity and truth, not shadows and fog"

Inquiry with the former constitutional judge Ferdinand Kirchhof.

His answer: You shouldn't rename existing credit authorizations or budget revenues if they were taken out for a specific purpose that allowed that, ignoring the debt brake.

Every new excess needs a new justification before the Basic Law.

“If it is mere credit authorizations that have not yet been used, they must be used in terms of time and content according to the original authorization;

they are not available for any purpose, ”said the former Vice President of the Federal Constitutional Court of the FAZ

The Union, which has to play the opposition in times of traffic lights, defends the debt brake.

"It is sustainability in constitutional law," said parliamentary group vice-chairman Andreas Jung of the FAZ. According to him, the dimension of the planned reallocation of corona debts raises considerable budgetary questions.

"We will also put our fingers in the wound if shadow budgets worth billions are to be built up." Parliament and the public have a right to extensive transparency.

"The budget principles are clarity and truth, not shadow and fog," warned the politician.

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