Budget discussions: exchange of blows in the Bundestag: Day of the general debate
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Berlin (AP) - In the Bundestag today a clash is expected on the government policy of Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and Germany's action against climate change. The occasion is the debate on the budget of the Chancellery.
The general debate is traditionally the culmination of budgetary discussions in Parliament.
The focus should be on the climate debate this year. Unlike the debates on individual budgets, which are disputed by the respective specialist politicians, Merkel and the leaders of the Bundestag factions speak in the general debate. Then it is discussed by the disputed in the grand coalition budget of Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU). There are calls in the Union for Germany to increase its defense spending more than it has planned, in order to meet its commitments to NATO in the future.
Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) plans to spend nearly 360 billion euros in 2020, around 3.4 billion more than in the current year. Despite the weakening economy and lower tax revenues, he wants to once again create a federal budget without new debts ("black zero"). Every year since 2014, it has been possible for expenditure to not exceed revenues.
MEPs will discuss the budgets of the individual ministries in the Bundestag by the end of the week. However, they are counting on benchmarks, which may well have to be overturned again after the "Climate Cabinet" on 20 September. According to Scholz, the money for climate protection should come mainly from the Energy and Climate Fund. But the ideas - cheaper train tickets, a scrapping premium for oil heating, compensation for higher energy taxes - total, according to Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) to around 50 billion euros. This is much more than the fund gives, even if not everything is implemented and the rest is spread over years.
The opposition criticizes that the federal government wants to invest too little. Green and left call, in view of the mega task of climate protection black zero should not be dogma.
When asked about possible new debts, Union faction leader Ralph Brinkhaus demanded a "general revision of the budget". The climate measures would cost "a lot of money". But in many areas, the money has not yet drained. "And nobody can tell me that in the 6000 individual titles of the household is still not in the air," said the CDU politician to the editorial network Germany. "We always talk about money first, not the necessary measures. We have to do it the other way around and write down all the meaningful projects first. "
The chief housekeeper of the SPD parliamentary group, Johannes Kahrs, rejected demands for a task of black zero. "Those who shout loudest to make new debts, it is really not about climate protection, but ideological dogmatism or the increase in defense spending or for completely different purposes," said Kahrs the "Rheinische Post" (Wednesday). There are currently no investment bottlenecks for the money, but for planning offices and construction companies.
Green household expert Tobias Lindner held the coalition against it despondency. He said to the Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung: "The fact that the Federal Government can only hold the" Black Zero "because it uses the so-called refugee reserve shows how absurd the budgetary policy of the Federal Government has become." Union and SPD would be driven more by fear of change than by courage and optimism. Scholz sets no priorities, his strategy is a "keep it up". In terms of climate protection must be improved. Scholz uses almost € 10 billion back from the asylum reserve.
Following the completion of the budget week on Friday, the spending plans in the Committee on Budgets will be discussed and, as a rule, will be slightly modified. By the end of November, the Bundestag should finalize the figures.