Berlin (dpa) - It could be one of those long nights in the chancellery. After the Pentecost holidays, the leaders of the Union and the SPD meet on Tuesday afternoon to discuss a program that may be worth EUR 80 billion to alleviate the economic consequences of the Corona crisis.
There are suggestions on the table to support families, companies and municipalities. Outside, many demands are made to the coalition leaders on how best to spend the money.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN ISSUES?
Some particularly catchy and controversial issues have already emerged in the debate. This does not mean that completely different measures will be decided on in the deliberations, of which no one is talking yet.
PURCHASES FOR CARS: There was a lot of discussion about such aids to support the key German industry and dependent industries such as suppliers. There are supporters and opponents in the coalition on both sides. Such a measure is controversial because of the climate crisis. The car countries of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Lower Saxony are proposing an “innovation bonus”. Bavaria's Prime Minister and CSU boss Markus Söder believes that modern cars that produce less CO2 should receive funding.
FAMILY BONUS: A one-off payment of 300 euros per child is also under discussion to support families in crisis and to boost consumption. The SPD is particularly committed to this. Union politicians have also shown sympathy for this. North Rhine-Westphalia's Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU) can even imagine 600 euros. There could be discussions about whether such a bonus should really be distributed to all families or only to those in need.
MUNICIPALITIES: Another controversial issue is financial aid for the municipalities. However, it is indisputable that cities and municipalities need help because the crisis means that tax revenues are cut off and at the same time more costs arise due to rising unemployment. SPD finance minister Olaf Scholz wants to help cities and municipalities, among other things, by assuming their old debts. A counterproposal comes from the Union: The federal government could relieve the municipalities by bearing a larger share of the housing costs of Hartz IV recipients and by foregoing shares from trade tax.
INFRASTRUCTURE: A large part of the stimulus package could flow into its expansion. Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) would like to invest around 28 billion euros in rail traffic, road construction and digital infrastructure, among other things.
MISCELLANEOUS: There were also many other suggestions and demands discussed in advance: more climate protection, billions in aid for the event and cultural sectors, which are particularly suffering from the crisis, a complete and faster abolition of the solidarity surcharge so that taxpayers have more money to spend, tax relief for companies, consumer vouchers and mobility vouchers for the purchase of bicycles or for public transport, relief on electricity prices and more money for research.
IS IT THE BIGGEST ECONOMIC PROGRAM IN THE POST-WAR Period?
Not considered individually. According to «Bild am Sonntag», the volume could be between 75 and 80 billion euros. The size of the largest economic stimulus measures to date, which were launched in 2008 and 2009 as a result of the financial crisis, was then estimated at over 90 billion. However, the federal government in the corona pandemic is already well above this amount and has already budgeted 156 billion euros. Since March, several laws have been put in place with support measures. Further loans will probably be required for the economic stimulus program that is now being negotiated.
ARE THE RECIPES ALL NEW?
Not quite. There was also a child bonus in the financial crisis of 2009: For each child, parents received a one-off payment of 100 euros. There was the “scrappage bonus”: Anyone who had their car at least nine years old scrapped and bought a new one with the Euro 4 emissions standard received 2,500 euros. There was also an investment program. 18 billion euros were made available for construction measures and infrastructure - for streets, schools, sports halls, playgrounds - so that the construction industry has to do with it. There were also some other measures: child benefit and child allowance were increased, health insurance contributions were reduced, there was more money for building renovation and extra loans for companies in need. The payment of short-time work benefits has been extended to 18 months.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE COALITION AGREEMENT?
When representatives of the SPD and Union step in front of the cameras with small eyes after a possibly long night and announce a result, the work really starts. If the negotiated economic stimulus measures are to take effect quickly, legislation must shift up several gears again. The agreements must be cast in detail in paragraphs and follow the usual legislative route through the Federal Cabinet, the Bundestag and the Bundesrat. Until the summer break, the Bundestag has only two weeks of meetings. The Federal Council meets again.