According to their own statements, the SPD and the Greens are optimistic that this Wednesday the mediation committee will reach an agreement in the dispute over the conversion of Hartz IV into a citizen money can succeed. “We’re on the right track,” says SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich, who warns against giving any details from the current negotiations. “I am quite confident that we will succeed,” said Britta Haßelmann, leader of the Greens parliamentary group.
CDU leader Friedrich Merz says, however, that the Union will only agree to a compromise if the traffic light government’s concessions to the protective assets and sanctions are also fixed in writing. One has had very bad experiences with the traffic light at the special fund for the Bundeswehr with vague political commitments. He agreed with the CSU chairman Markus Söder and with the parliamentary group, “that we, if at all, only give approval if we have legal texts in front of us, which then also get their approval from both sides – the Bundestag and the Bundesrat can find”.
FDP and CSU are pushing for earlier benefit cuts if recipients of state aid do not meet their obligations to cooperate. FDP General Secretary Bijan Djir-Sarai is in favor of dropping the so-called trust period of six months. This stipulates that during the first six months after the conclusion of a cooperation plan with the job centers, there will be no cuts in benefits even if those receiving citizen benefit do not comply with the agreements. You have to “rework urgently on the subject of sanctions”. According to the draft law, only failure to report should be sanctioned with benefit cuts of a maximum of ten percent during the period of trust.
For the CSU it is a condition “that sanctions come into force again,” says party leader Markus Söder. Another condition for an agreement is that the protective assets are “significantly reduced, almost halved”. If there are substantial improvements, according to the Bavarian Prime Minister, “the way can be free”. According to the draft law, those receiving citizen benefit do not have to resort to their own assets of up to 60,000 euros in the first two years. This amount increases by EUR 30,000 for each additional person in the household. According to the plans of the traffic light coalition, the costs of accommodation will also be covered during this phase, without checking whether the apartment is of an appropriate size.
The traffic light in the Bundesrat is dependent on the approval of the Union-led countries for the introduction of the citizens’ income, which was decided by the Bundestag with a majority of the SPD, Greens and FDP. The coalition said talks with the Union were going on at several levels. CDU leader Merz emphasized that the Union would under no circumstances give up the principle of “support and demand”. He is skeptical that the traffic light will make sufficient commitments in the near future.