Magdeburg (dpa) – Shortly before the groundbreaking vote in the media committee of the state parliament of Magdeburg on a higher broadcast price, the black-red-green coalition is still fighting for a compromise.
The CDU faction voted in a meeting Tuesday morning on a proposal, according to which the project will not be definitively voted in the state parliament, but rather withdrawn by the state chancellery due to renegotiations on the amount of the contribution. A similar procedure had previously been proposed by Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff (CDU) from the government headquarters.
This would effectively block the increase for the time being, as it will only come into effect when all state parliaments agree at the end of December this year. However, this approach would prevent the CDU from forming a majority with opposition party AfD and against its own coalition to block the increase. The SPD and the Greens emphasized several times that in such a case they no longer see a basis for cooperation between the coalition that has been in power since 2016. The CDU, on the other hand, wants to prevent people from falling over.
The intention is that the license fee for the public broadcaster will increase by 86 cents for the first time since 2009 to 18.36 euros per month. The increase was calculated by the independent KEF committee and signed off by all prime ministers. However, all state parliaments must also agree.
Until midday, top representatives from the CDU, SPD and Greens will discuss how to avoid an inconsistent vote in the media committee vote on Wednesday and the parliament’s final decision in mid-December. Whether Haseloff and the CDU faction will be victorious in their lecture is open. Following talks between coalition leaders, the CDU, SPD and the Greens will discuss the results of the round separately.
Green head of state Sebastian Striegel wants to discuss his own compromise proposal: a failure of the submission of the state government submitted for the state treaty is not acceptable. His party proposes to decide on the contract now, but not to allow the future amount of the secondment allowance to come into effect until mid-2021. Then the state treaty with all its other changes could go into effect nationwide – but state leaders still have six months to negotiate a contribution amount that takes into account the economic impact of the corona pandemic.
The CDU faction and the state chancellery also mentioned the corona crisis as an argument for their joint proposal. Although the CDU faction is pushing for fundamental austerity efforts by the public broadcasters, it is now also launching the corona pandemic. Because of “the biggest crisis in the world we have, the Corona crisis,” the current version of the state treaty is not ready for a decision, said CDU Group Chairman Siegfried Borgwardt.
The pandemic has dominated political and social events in Germany since the beginning of the year. Most state parliaments have now either ratified the current state treaty, including the premium, or announced that they will. Saxony-Anhalt is considered the only wobbly candidate.
Outside of Saxony-Anhalt, the idea of corona-related renegotiation of the broadcasting license raises skepticism. An additional report from the KEF had not been requested by any of the other state parliaments, Rhineland-Palatinate State Secretary Heike Raab (SPD) said Tuesday. Plus, it should be available by the end of December. The mere assumption that expert advice would reach a different conclusion lacks any objective justification, it said. Insofar as the proposal intends “not to implement the premium adjustment now, but to postpone it”, the other countries would not be able to respond to this.