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Finance Minister Lindner: Without a round of austerity, spending would be significantly higher


Hans Christian Plambeck/laif

Despite the austerity round he has decreed, Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) is granting 10 out of 16 ministries more money in 2024 than provided for in the previous financial planning. This emerges from a list of the spending caps for all ministries, which is available to SPIEGEL.

Accordingly, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) will receive 5.8 billion euros instead of the previous 5.2 billion euros. The budget of Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) will be increased by a good 700 million euros to around 13 billion euros. At 3.9 billion euros, the budget of Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) is growing the most. It will be 38.9 billion euros next year. The increase can be explained by the need for investment in Deutsche Bahn.

Development Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) will receive 11.5 billion euros, around 900 million euros more than previously planned. The increases are not due to the fact that Lindner has opened up new sources of money or sees no reason to save. A number of additional expenses are caused, for example, by new statutory benefits, which were not yet determined last year when the financial planning was drawn up. Examples of this are the new citizen's allowance or the housing benefit reform. For the latter, Construction Minister Klara Geywitz (SPD) needs two billion euros more. In fact, however, its budget will only grow by 2024.1 billion euros in 4. It therefore has fewer resources at its disposal for its previous tasks.

Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens) will receive less money in absolute terms. Instead of 7.2 billion euros, only 6.6 billion euros will be available next year. Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) also has to make do with less money. He will receive 240 million euros less and will then only have a budget of 10.2 billion euros. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) has to accept the absolute biggest minus of around one billion euros. He will only be able to spend 16.2 billion euros next year.

Overall, the additional expenditure is more than eight billion euros above the previous target figures. So, in fact, the government is not saving. Without the cuts in the pay-as-you-go system, which Lindner prescribed to the ministries, they would even be well over eleven billion euros.

The federal budget for 2024 is expected to be approved by the cabinet on July 5. So far, Lindner has envisaged a new debt of almost 17 billion euros. The savings had become necessary because, until recently, a financing gap of 20 billion euros had to be filled. With the spending caps and the planned new debt, Lindner meets the requirements of the debt brake.