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Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP)

Photo: Liesa Johannssen / REUTERS

After the constitutional ruling on the debt brake, Finance Minister Christian Lindner had proposed to save on citizens' money and international financial aid, among other things, in order to close gaps in the budget for 2024. The development policy spokeswoman of the Green parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Deborah Düring, sees it differently. "When Lindner says we can't afford development cooperation, I say: We can't afford any further aggravation of crises and conflicts," Düring told SPIEGEL. Cutting back on international cooperation would therefore be "short-sighted and irresponsible."

"Those who invest less money in international cooperation today should not be surprised if crises worsen tomorrow and the costs of combating them rise accordingly in the future," said Düring. Instead of "cutting funding for global climate justice," the government should "finally stop environmentally harmful subsidies that cost us billions a year and exacerbate the climate crisis."

Lindner had argued that Germany was at the forefront of development cooperation and international climate protection financing. "We're happy to stay in first place. But maybe the gap to second place can be reduced." The aim could be a "fairer international burden-sharing".

Minister also against cuts

German Development Minister Svenja Schulze also warned of cuts in development aid. "An economy that is dependent on international value chains and global solutions to problems cannot afford a snail-shell mentality," said the SPD politician. "Development cooperation is not a nice-to-have, but in our German interest," she stressed. For a strong industrialized country like Germany, a retreat would clearly be the wrong way to go. "The problems would still come to us, because they can only be solved globally," Schulze warned.

Schulze went on to counter Lindner that it was money well invested if the German government used German money to advance global climate protection. "Not investing would be much more expensive – even for us in Germany. Unchecked climate change would also cause enormous damage to us," she said.

A reduction in development aid had already been agreed before the budget discussions. "The federal budget as a whole is shrinking, the share of development policy has remained more or less the same," Schulze had previously justified the cuts. Internationally, there is talk of a donor crisis among aid organizations, because Great Britain, for example, has massively reduced payments.