Berlin (dpa) – Low wages, families with children and companies need more help in the corona pandemic. At its 1001st session on Friday, the Federal Council approved the relevant legislative packages to deal with the consequences of the pandemic.
There was also a resolution on the long-disputed citizen identification number. And money laundering and the delivery of medicines by post will have to be fought harder in the future.
Friday’s most important decisions:
GRANTS FOR FAMILIES AND LOW EARNERS: To accommodate hardship caused by pandemics, basic income support recipients and families with children receive a one-time allowance. Just like last year, families should receive 150 euros for each child entitled to child benefit. Adult people with low incomes, the long-term unemployed and social assistance recipients should also receive 150 to cover additional costs such as hygiene products. In addition, easier access to basic security is expanded – this means that lengthy exams are suspended until the end of the year. However, the regional chamber criticized the costs associated with the III social protection package for the federal states and municipalities.
TAX GRANT: Businesses should continue to receive tax relief in the Corona crisis. For the restaurants that have been closed for months, the reduced VAT rate of 7 instead of 19 percent will continue to apply to food until the end of 2022 – but for drinks the rate will remain 19 percent. And companies should be able to offset their 2020 and 2021 tax losses more than before with profits from the previous year.
CITIZEN ID: The tax identification number becomes a type of citizen number that allows an authority to access existing data about a person at another authority. However, this only applies if the data subject wishes and expressly agrees. The corresponding law had previously met huge criticism from data protectors and the opposition in the Bundestag. It aims to reduce bureaucratic effort by unambiguously identifying citizens.
DRUGS BY MAIL: Drugs sent by mail will be easier to track in the future. In the future, employees at post offices or parcel centers will have to report damaged or rejected suspicious shipments. This applies if the content suggests drugs, weapons or unauthorized medicines. Companies can be fined up to EUR 500,000 if employees violate this duty. Until now, there was no obligation to report suspicious shipments.
ELECTRIC MOBILITY: The charging infrastructure for e-vehicles is being expanded. In addition, a law stipulates that in future construction with more than five parking spaces, the high-voltage lines must be taken into account. In office buildings, for example, the obligation applies to more than six parking spaces. In this case, cables must be laid to at least every third parking space. In addition, a charging point must also be set up. Homes and other buildings will also be provided with larger parking spaces.
MONEY LAUNDERING: The prosecution of money laundering should become easier in the future and perpetrators can be brought to justice more easily. In the future, hiding criminal profits will in principle be punishable – regardless of the offense with which they were acquired. A special reference to organized or serious crime and to certain criminal offenses such as drug trafficking, human trafficking or extortion of protection money no longer needs to exist. The changes had previously been decided by the Bundestag. Money laundering is when illegally obtained money is smuggled into the legal economic cycle to conceal its origins.
TIERWOHL: The Federal Council is demanding an animal welfare tax on meat, milk and other animal products. From the point of view of the regional chamber, this is a central element in promoting agricultural regrouping. In addition, a mandatory animal welfare label is an important part of an ecological and animal-friendly orientation in agriculture. The resolution of the Federal Council is now forwarded to the Federal Government.