Clear the stage for a double change of roles: The program is the first reading of the Second Supplementary Budget Act 2021. The first speaker in the Bundestag is Christian Linder (FDP), who has been Federal Minister of Finance for a few days.

The party he chairs was not part of the government for eight years, half of them in extra-parliamentary opposition.

The second speaker is Christian Haase (CDU), the newly elected budgetary spokesman for the CDU / CSU parliamentary group.

After 16 years in government, the Union has to play the opposition.

Manfred Schäfers

Business correspondent in Berlin.

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The roles are clear, especially since the Union has already announced a norms review lawsuit against the supplementary budget - because the Ampel-Coalition wants to quickly transfer credit authorizations of 60 billion euros to the energy and climate fund in order to later use them for corona damage in the broadest sense to be able to.

Without this operation, new borrowing would be correspondingly lower this year.

A net borrowing of 240 billion euros is planned.

It should stay that way, although fewer funds are needed in the acute crisis.

Mutual accusations shape the debate.

Some argue that the Union supported a similar transfer during its reign.

A year ago, the FDP criticized what it is now planning to do as unconstitutional, the others say.

Lindner probably suspected such allegations.

He therefore opened his contribution with the words: “The federal government is committed to the debt brake in our constitution.” From 2023 onwards, it will again comply with the requirements.

Lindner puts a tip against brown

It has been known for a long time that the coalition, with reference to the Corona emergency situation, wants to incur more new debts next year than the Basic Law provides for normal times. Lindner quickly went over to the attack in his speech. In January, Helge Braun (CDU), as minister of the Chancellery, said that the debt brake would not be adhered to in the coming years, even with strict spending discipline. This has therefore proposed to change the Basic Law in order to be able to incur higher debts for a longer period of time. The CDU politician now chairs the budget committee.

After this tip against Braun, Lindner explained the red-green-yellow strategy. "We must not lose time in the transformation of the economy and society as a result of the pandemic." At the same time, he affirmed: "We not only need a booster for people, but also for the economy." In addition, the minister referred to the Federal Constitutional Court and the responsibility for future generations highlighted in its climate share. The government is orienting itself towards this. Finally, he recalled the past year when the Union and the SPD pushed 26.2 billion euros into the energy and climate fund with a similar action.

The CDU budget politician Haase showed with his first sentence what his parliamentary group thinks of the traffic light plans: "Pull a coin out from behind your ear, pull a bouquet of flowers out of your sleeve and make a small ball disappear - something is called sleight of hand." In a miraculous change, Corona loans suddenly became climate loans. And of course he did not miss the opportunity to remind the FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr of his sharp tones when he criticized the supplementary budget in the summer of 2020 - according to Haase's words, "legally much less dubious".

He quoted the FDP politician with his assessment that the supplementary budget at the time impaired essential constitutional principles such as annuality, due date, truth and clarity.

In addition, Dürr asked at the time why you can only make a career in the SPD if you submit unconstitutional budgets.

"Are those the footsteps you want to follow in, Mr. Lindner?" Said Haase now.

It is obvious that the risky maneuver will undermine the debt brake.

Further changes for the secondary budgets would have the only goal of increasing the debt leeway completely independently of Corona.

Haase's conclusion: "I consider the supplementary budget to be unconstitutional, I consider it to be the beginning of the end of the debt brake."