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Federal Ministry of Finance: numerous federal expenditures on budget

Photo: Christophe Gateau / dpa

In a new report, we sharply criticise the draft of the new federal budget. According to the report, the 2024 budget is unsoundly financed, deliberately circumvents the debt brake and thus conceals the real debt. This emerges from the "Analysis of the situation of federal finances for the deliberations on the 2024 federal budget", which we submitted to the Bundestag on Friday. For example, the actual debt, including all shadow budgets, is not the 16.6 billion euros specified by the federal government, but 85.7 billion euros, five times higher, the Handelsblatt quotes from the report. The new federal budget will be discussed in the Bundestag next week.

Among other things, the auditors complain that Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) is planning a budget hole of 15 billion euros in his financial planning. "Planning for increasing expenditure without clarifying its financing is not proof of budgetary soundness," writes the Federal Court of Auditors. In view of future repayment obligations and rising interest rates, the federal government must now create the basis for the sustainability of future budgets.

"The draft budget for 2024 does not do justice to this," the budget watchdogs said. "The Federal Government has largely evaded a substantial critique of tasks with the aim of prioritising and reducing subordinate tasks. The budget relief it has decided on is largely limited to shifting expenditure to special funds, cancelling provisions and uncovered positions«.

This is also "problematic" with regard to the debt brake. "Through various measures in the years since 2020, the effectiveness of the debt rule has gradually been increasingly impaired." In recent years, the federal budget has "lost much of its significance due to the switch to ancillary budgets, and numerous federal expenditures are budget-volatile".