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Meeting of the budget committee in the Bundestag (photo from November)

Photo: Kay Nietfeld / dpa

The SPD, Greens and FDP agreed on important adjustments to the future budget in time for the final adjustment meeting in the Budget Committee.

According to SPIEGEL information, there are agreements within the traffic light coalition on key points of the draft budget for 2024, which is to be finally passed by the Bundestag at the beginning of February.

Accordingly, a regulation for “total refusers” should initially be introduced for citizens’ benefit for a limited period until February 2026.

The controversial measure was announced by Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) in December.

Anyone who repeatedly refuses to accept a job will no longer receive payments for a certain period of time.

According to Heil's plans, the standard citizen's benefit rate of 563 euros per month (for single people) should be completely eliminated if someone does not accept a reasonable job - for a period of up to two months.

The state only continues to pay the costs of accommodation and heating so that the unemployed do not become homeless.

The sanctions against “total objectors” are expected to save 170 million euros per year, 150 million euros for the federal government and 20 million euros for the municipalities.

After the regulation expires, the measure will be examined and a decision will be made about whether to continue.

No emergency for the Ahrtal flood

Due to the flood damage in the Ahr Valley after the devastating floods in 2021, no emergency should be declared.

The 2.7 billion euros in aid money earmarked for the region should therefore be financed regularly from the budget.

There is new leeway in this because the federal government did not have to withdraw around six billion euros from the former refugee reserve in the 2023 budget as planned.

These funds are now available for the 2024 budget.

The federal government's planned "generational capital", also known as stock pensions, is to be financed with twelve billion euros from new debt.

Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) wants to use “generational capital” to support the long-term financing of pension insurance.

Since it is a “financial transaction” – i.e. an expense that is offset by the creation of an asset – the debt brake does not apply.

The budget for 2024 should have been decided last November.

However, due to the Federal Constitutional Court's budget ruling, the traffic light government had to put parts of the budget on a new basis and close a financing gap worth billions.

The planned cuts are intended to close the billion dollar hole.

Funds for development aid and humanitarian aid as well as for numerous climate protection projects will be cut.

There are also cuts in social insurance.

The Federal Employment Agency, on the other hand, does not have to repay 1.5 billion euros from the federal Corona loans in 2024, unlike planned.

In order to improve revenue, the CO₂ price was increased more at the beginning of the year than previously planned.

Union chief budget officer: “No one can see through it anymore”

The chief budget officer of the Union parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Christian Haase (CDU), criticized the adjustments planned by the federal government.

»The traffic lights can't do it.

We can no longer afford the traffic lights either politically or financially,” said Haase.

»Four cleanup templates with around 1000 changes and constantly new water levels.

Nobody can see through it anymore,” complained Haase.