After days of struggling, the traffic light and the Union have cleared the way for the planned citizens’ allowance. Both sides reached compromises in the disputes over the planned social reform, the German Press Agency learned on Tuesday from coalition circles in Berlin.
Citizens’ income is to replace today’s Hartz IV benefits on January 1, 2023. The Union had insisted that there be more sanctions for recipients than originally planned. Such reductions in performance should take effect if, for example, the unemployed do not apply for a job, although this was agreed with the job center.
According to Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), the social reform should last for a long time. “We now want to pass a very large social reform, which will then describe the way in which job seekers are supported in Germany for decades,” said Scholz on Tuesday at an “economic summit” of the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” in Berlin. That will also work.
Union faction leader Friedrich Merz expects the compromise to be approved by the Union-governed countries in the mediation committee of the Bundestag and Bundesrat. “I have no doubts about that,” said the CDU chairman when asked a question. There was good coordination with the Union countries around the clock in the negotiations on the compromise.
This Wednesday, the mediation committee of the Bundestag and Bundesrat is to discuss the disputed points and decide on the compromise that has been reached. According to unanimous information from the Union and government factions, this provides for further decisive changes to the original draft law. Among other things, there should be sanctions in the form of withdrawal of benefits from day one – without exceptions.
The trust period of six months provided by the traffic light, during which there should be no reduction in performance in the event of breaches of duty, should be completely eliminated. The waiting period with milder regulations, originally set for 24 months, should only be 12 months.
Traffic light representatives praise “good basis”
According to the information, the Union side reduced the related assets from 60,000 euros to 40,000 euros. The more generous additional earnings limits during the receipt of the citizen’s allowance – for example for affected young people who work part-time – should remain in place. The FDP in particular had insisted on this.
FDP Vice President Johannes Vogel welcomed this part of the agreement. Other representatives of the traffic light factions described the compromise found on citizen income as a “good basis”. “It’s a viable compromise,” said Katja Mast, First Parliamentary Secretary of the SPD parliamentary group, at a spontaneously convened press conference in the Bundestag.
The Greens parliamentary group leader Britta Haßelmann again emphasized that the standard rate increase for beneficiaries will come on January 1, 2023. It is also still the core of the reform not to place people in “any job” in the future, but to qualify them and get them permanent work. However, the Greens parliamentary group leader expressly regretted that the originally planned period of trust in the preliminary negotiations had been omitted.
The left criticized the compromise on citizen income. Apart from an increase in the standard rate by 53 euros, there is almost nothing left of the reform, explained party leader Janine Wissler in Berlin. She blamed the Union and the FDP for this. Wissler said it was a “competition of shabbiness at the expense of those affected and an undignified gossip theater in which the Union tried to play off low-wage workers against recipients of social benefits”. (dpa, AFP)
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