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Federal Ministry of Finance

Photo: IMAGO/Stefan Zeitz

The Federal Ministry of Finance is pulling the fiscal emergency brake and imposing a spending freeze on declarations of commitment stemming from the current 2023 budget. This was announced in the evening by the responsible State Secretary Werner Gatzer to all federal ministries as well as the Chancellery in a circular letter obtained by SPIEGEL. The official of Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) is reacting to the ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court on Wednesday on the Climate and Transformation Fund (KTF).

Earlier, the Reuters news agency reported on the letter. Accordingly, no statement could initially be obtained from the Federal Ministry of Finance.

Immediately after the verdict was announced, Lindner had already blocked large parts of the climate fund. Now follows another, drastic step, which Gatzer justifies with the fact that one wants to avoid "further pre-burdens for future budget years". He then lists the individual ministries and their budgets.

It thus orders "all commitment appropriations allocated and still available in sections 04 to 17 and 23 to 60 of the 2023 federal budget to be blocked with immediate effect". For the affected institutions, this means that payments may only be made "in special individual cases" and applications to the Federal Ministry of Finance. "A particularly strict standard will be applied to the proof of such a need," the letter says.

Gatzer refers to Paragraph 41 of the Federal Budget Regulation, which regulates a budget freeze.

The individual budgets of all ministries are affected by the above-mentioned sections. Section 60, for example, includes the Climate and Transformation Fund and the €200 billion defence shield to curb energy prices. According to the list, constitutional bodies such as the Federal President, the Bundestag, the Bundesrat and the Federal Constitutional Court are excluded.

The Federal Constitutional Court had cut 60 billion euros from the federal government on Wednesday because the transfer of unused Corona loans to the climate fund was unconstitutional. The government now lacks the money. In addition, there are further clarifications from the court on the debt brake in the Basic Law and on the legality of loans, which could also have consequences for the current 2023 budget and the planned 2024 budget.

More to come soon from SPIEGEL.de