Losing needs to be learned – but winning is too. The Union did not excel in this on Tuesday. One after the other, the heads of the traffic light coalition and Union stepped in front of the cameras in the Bundestag building to announce and put in their own desired light what they had agreed on in terms of citizen money.
Union faction leader Friedrich Merz had a success to announce: The Union has moved the traffic light coalition to make far-reaching changes – mainly thanks to its own blocking power. It didn’t work without the Union as long as its ranks were closed, and this unity was there.
So the traffic light only had the choice of implementing the citizens’ income with cutbacks or stopping the large-scale project. The latter would have been a disaster from the government’s point of view, so the painful compromise was the only option.
It is easy to mobilize on the subject of sanctions
The trust period, which had been disputed so much, is completely eliminated. From day one, all possible sanctions take effect, the promised paradigm shift towards the leap of faith has been cancelled. This is a victory for the Union, and it also has to do with the fact that this issue is so easy to mobilize.
The representatives of the traffic light coalition could point out so often that the sanctions only affect a very small part of the transfer recipients. Against the horror of the couch-Hartzer, who collects money without giving anything in return, there was no getting around.
Whether the traffic light suits it or not: This point has a symbolic effect, also for those who finance the system and for the employees in the job centers. The Union therefore has good arguments on its side on this point.
The rules compared to the status quo are clearly becoming more generous.
The savings assets are roughly halved, and the grace period during which the home remains untouched is also halved. Here, too, the traffic light had to accommodate the Union. On the other hand, the rules are clearly becoming more generous compared to the status quo.
And so what Friedrich Merz announced full-bodiedly is not true: the core of the citizen money, as planned by the coalition, has been completely deleted. What remains is the change in strategy towards professional qualification and a smoother, trust-inspiring approach to the transfer recipients.
The traffic light aims to narrow the gap between unemployment and labor shortages. This is a large, long-term project, and it will not suddenly lead to success in January 2023. Nevertheless, this is actually a reorientation.
Merz and parliamentary group leader Alexander Dobrindt (CSU) savored their successes on important issues on Tuesday. Merz sent tips to the governing parties, and Dobrindt recommended that parts of the traffic light still had to deal with the compromise “in order to really understand it”.
This arrogance could have been dispensed with. The opposite could be seen at the traffic light. “Polarization is not the order of the day,” said parliamentary group leader Britta Hasselmann.
And Katja Mast, First Parliamentary Secretary of the SPD parliamentary group, quoted Friedrich Ebert: “Anyone who badmouths the compromise is badmouthing democracy.” She wasn’t wrong.
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