Berlin (dpa) – Against the background of the corona crisis, the Bundestag will begin today with the final deliberations on the federal budget for 2021. First, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) wants to explain the plans before the budgets of the individual departments are discussed on Friday.
Today the budget of the chancellery is on the agenda, after that the so-called general debate with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) is traditionally on the agenda. The Bundestag will vote on the budget for 2021 on Friday.
The budget is shaped by the Corona crisis. More than a third of this is financed with debt. It comes down to almost half a trillion euros being spent. In order to face the crisis, Scholz wants to take on some 180 billion euros in new debts and again suspend the debt brake in the Basic Law. Originally, Scholz had expected $ 96 billion. Much of the billions in aid for the companies affected by the partial lockdown will likely not be released until 2021.
Scholz defended the budget. The debts allowed the state to act. The foundations for growth and for being able to pay off debts would also be laid, the SPD politician said in the ARD program on Monday evening “hard but fair”. Scholz pointed out that after the latest financial crisis, Germany had a government debt ratio of 80 percent, which was subsequently pushed below 60 percent. After this crisis, you are just over 70 percent.
The Union’s fiscal policy spokesman, Eckhardt Rehberg, pointed out that the budget volume would increase to around 500 billion, as € 90 billion in special corona costs was planned. In addition, citizens would be relieved of ten billion euros in solos, they would receive a total of three billion euros more in child benefits and another four billion through the cut in income tax, according to the CDU politician of the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung”.
Meanwhile, the Greens are warning against austerity rounds after the Corona crisis. “There should be no broken savings after Corona,” said Housekeeper Sven-Christian Kindler of the German news agency. “The wrecking ball must not come after the bazooka.” Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) described the unrestricted government approval at the start of the crisis as a “bazooka”. The Greens are now calling for politically binding guarantees that after the crisis, neither Germany nor Europe will start a hard austerity course. A 500 billion euro investment program by 2030 is needed, Kindler said.
The state could afford to fight the pandemic. It is extremely dangerous for some in the Union to question this. “Anyone who now tells the CDU and CSU that we could no longer afford this is creating insecurity, destroying trust and at risk of losing acceptance of the necessary restrictions,” Kindler criticized. The Federal Republic of Germany can currently borrow money on very favorable terms. “In such a situation it would be extremely dangerous to forgo borrowing in order to overcome a deep economic crisis.”
FDP leader Christian Lindner had already warned on Monday that the pandemic should not be a free ticket to get into debt. The state needs to help the pandemic victims, but the federal government will go into more debt than it should in the coming year, Lindner said on the sidelines of a group meeting. The FDP had suggested cutting the net loan in half while allowing for a relief for citizens and businesses.
Chancellor Merkel already defended the massive new debt last weekend. Since the start of the pandemic, the goal has been to mobilize financial resources to counter this, Merkel said in her latest video podcast. “The costs would be even higher – financially and socially – if many businesses were to fail and millions of jobs lost.” In 2021, the federal government could also deploy large sums because the budget was good in recent years. At the same time, the Chancellor made it clear that the current level of support cannot be continued indefinitely.