After the unsuccessful adoption of the citizens’ allowance, the FDP has once again sent out signals for a possible compromise between the traffic light coalition and the opposition Union. “It’s no use if everyone stays up in the air,” says FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr to the newspapers of the Funke media group.
The federal states in which the CDU or CSU are part of the government had that Traffic light reform project rejected in the Bundesrat on Monday or abstain from voting. Therefore, the Mediation Committee must now find a solution, a body that is made up of equal numbers of members of the Bundestag and the Bundesrat. The federal government hopes that this will happen as quickly as possible and that a solution will be found by the end of November at the latest. Because only then can the reform, as planned by Labor Minister Hubertus Heil, be implemented on January 1st.
The Union spread “fairy tales if it depicts the first six months as a sanction-free period,” said FDP man Dürr. Only the possible sanctions for recipients that are irrelevant at the beginning of the purchase should be eliminated. The aim is to reduce bureaucracy. “But if the Union needs this symbol, I’m open to maintaining sanction options.”
The Union is bothered by the planned “trust period” of half a year, during which recipients of citizen income payments face virtually no cuts in benefits in the event of misconduct. However, the FDP politician excludes increasing the amounts of the current Hartz IV rates alone, as the union leaders had demanded. “If we only increase the standard rates, as the Union wants, we reduce the incentive to take up work,” says Dürr. In fact, the coalition with the citizen money create additional work incentives for training and further education and for part-time work.
The day after the vote in the Bundesrat, the Union again called for certain sanction options to be retained in the law, as suggested by FDP parliamentary group leader Dürr. “There must be no doubt that sanctions can be imposed right from the start,” says Thorsten Frei, parliamentary director of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group Augsburg General. The Union wants to represent this position in the mediation committee. The path to an “unconditional basic income” will not be followed. “Anyone who wants to give up the principle of ‘support and challenge’ cannot expect approval from us,” says Frei.
Child Protection Association criticizes the Union
The current Hartz IV system is to be replaced with citizen income on January 1 of next year. The standard monthly rate for single adults is to rise from 449 to 502 euros with the reform. The union also agrees. In addition to the elimination of some sanctions, she is also bothered by other details, such as the increase in the so-called protective assets that beneficiaries are allowed to keep. Up to 60,000 euros are to be protected for two years, for each additional person in the household another 30,000 euros. It is still unclear what a compromise could look like here.
Nevertheless, the parliamentary director of the SPD parliamentary group, Katja Mast, is optimistic about the coming weeks. “I am very confident that we will find a good compromise in the mediation committee,” said Mast on Deutschlandfunk. Mast also contradicts the representation of the Union. “There is no such thing as a sanction-free period,” she said. From day one, recipients of the citizen’s allowance are obliged to cooperate. Anyone who fails to keep appointments at the job center several times can be subject to sanctions. “We don’t want an unconditional basic income,” said the SPD member of the Bundestag.
The Child Protection Association criticizes the union-led countries for blocking citizen income. “The Union’s refusal to pay citizen money is indecent,” says the President of the German Child Protection Association, Heinz Hilgers, to the editorial network Germany. Families with children are particularly hard hit by the current crises. The President of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), Marcel Fratzscher, makes a similar statement. “The rejection of the CDU and CSU is a fatal signal to solidarity in society in difficult times,” says Fratzscher Rheinische Post. The German Parity Welfare Association is calling on the federal and state governments to come to an agreement quickly. “Anyone who doesn’t act quickly and consistently now accepts that poverty will continue to rise and that people’s needs will increase,” said the association’s general manager, Ulrich Schneider Stuttgart newspaper.