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Working Group meets: Union and SPD continue to negotiate on basic pensions

2019-10-23T06:09:29.050Z

TIME ONLINE | News, backgrounds and debates



Berlin (dpa) - The coalition is still looking for a solution in their dispute over the introduction of a basic pension. In addition, top politicians from the Union and SPD come together again today in Berlin in a working group.

For months now, both sides have been struggling to see how the premium promised in the coalition agreement should be implemented for mini-pensions. People who have worked for at least 35 years should receive a pension that is at least ten percent above Hartz IV level - even if they have earned little and thus paid little into the pension fund.

While the SPD wants to grant the ground rent to as many affected as possible, the Union insists on making the pension supplement more strictly dependent on a need test.

It was not certain whether a breakthrough before the state election in Thuringia succeeds this Sunday. The working group also includes Thuringia's CDU leader Mike Mohring and Thuringia's Minister of Economic Affairs Wolfgang Tiefensee (SPD). After launching this AG a month ago, both had acknowledged that it took time to resolve. Representatives of the AG include Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil (SPD), Chancellor Helge Braun (CDU), CSU National Group Chief Alexander Dobrindt, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD), Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Minister President Manuela Schwesig (SPD ).

COALITION AGREEMENT AND DIFFICULTIES:

In the coalition agreement, the Union and the SPD had agreed: All those who have 35 years of contribution periods or periods of child rearing or care should receive a pension ten percent above the basic security. Prerequisite should therefore be a means test. Because not all people with small pensions are poor - for example, if they live in a well-off household. The former Labor Ministers Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) and Andrea Nahles (SPD) had already failed with similar projects.

Heil and the SPD insist, however, that there should be no need-testing. Heil presented a draft in May stating that around three million people should receive the basic pension. He estimated costs of 3.8 to 4.8 billion euros per year. The Union rejected the concept.

NEGOTIATION STAND:

Union and SPD have recently struggled for a compromise. A test of property and home ownership should be waived - but the income of those affected should be checked. This could be done through the tax office alone. However, it was questionable what exactly should be checked and when should the basic pension be granted.

Already in September, there had been talks between Heil and Braun, there was a Einigungskorridor. More than two million people should therefore benefit from the planned premium for mini-pensions.

In view, the coalition also have the costs. Even without a basic pension, the tax subsidy to pension insurance will increase to more than 100 billion euros for the first time in 2020. And the slowing economy is less fueling tax revenues.

EFFECT OF THE GRUNDRENTE:

Among experts is disputed how "accurate" the basic pension is actually. According to a study by the Bertelsmann Foundation and the DIW Institute, the proportion of poverty-threatened retirees could increase from 16.8 to 21.6 percent by 2039. The basic pension could therefore be used to limit the at-risk-of-poverty rate to 18.4 percent. But many recipients of a premium lived in households with income above the subsistence level.

Coalition Agreement p. 90 ff.

Presentation Grundrentenkonzept by Heil

Source: zeit

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