Berlin, Friedrichshafen Chancellor Olaf Scholz has accused the Union and its party leader Friedrich Merz of aloofness in social policy. The SPD was not surprised that the Union did not participate in the decision for a higher minimum wage.
“But the fact that the Union didn’t even manage to raise its hand a little bit when the vote in the Bundestag was about it and to agree to it, that’s aloof and that’s snooty,” said Scholz on Saturday at the party conference of the Southwest SPD in Friedrichshafen. “And that has absolutely nothing to do with ‘performance must be worthwhile’,” criticized the Chancellor.
He was obviously alluding to the justification given by the Union for rejecting the new citizens’ income in the Bundesrat. Scholz said in relation to the minimum wage: “The performance of hard-working employees must be worthwhile, dear Mr. Merz.”
In view of the mediation efforts, the chancellor did not directly mention the dispute over citizen income, but referred to a series of reforms with which the traffic light coalition is supporting hard-working people and families. For example, he mentioned the increase in child benefit and exclaimed: “Achievement must be worthwhile, dear Mr. Merz.”
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Traffic light is willing to compromise on citizen money
In the dispute over citizen income, the traffic light coalition has confirmed its willingness to negotiate. “The Free Democrats have already made it clear that they are open to constructive proposals from the Union, such as sanctions, the protective assets or with a view to even more performance-friendly additional income rules,” said FDP Secretary General Bijan Djir-Sarai of the German Press Agency in Berlin.
“I am confident that a quick agreement on citizen income can be achieved if the Union participates objectively and results-oriented in finding a common solution.”
The SPD chairwoman Saskia Esken made a similar statement in the “Tagesspiegel” on Saturday. There will be a good compromise in the mediation committee. We are ready to negotiate details.
But Esken also emphasized: “The basic principles must be preserved.” It is important that “we want to achieve a change in culture in dealing with unemployed people”. The planned citizens’ allowance is intended to replace the current Hartz IV system. Among other things, the reform provides for higher standard rates and more detailed support for the unemployed.
The Union rejects the proposal from Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD). Among other things, she opposes the planned “trust period” of half a year, during which recipients of citizen’s income are hardly threatened with cuts in benefits in the event of misconduct. From their point of view, those affected should be granted too much protection.
>> Read here: Why the reform could lead to higher salaries for civil servants
The draft did not find a majority in the Bundesrat because of opposition from the Union after it had already been passed in the Bundestag. According to the Federal Council, the dispute is now to be resolved in an evening meeting of the Mediation Committee on Wednesday. According to the will of the Federal Government, the Chamber of States is to finally discuss the citizen income law on the following Friday (November 25th).
Merz calls for incentives with sanctions
CDU leader Friedrich Merz called on the traffic light coalition to make concessions. “We expect this government to take a step, and a big step towards us, if we want to find a common solution for this so-called citizen money in the next few days and weeks,” said Merz on Saturday at the Germany Day of the Young Union in Fulda.
Incentives should be set so that the unemployed can find their way back into the labor market as quickly as possible. In Germany, all available workers would be needed. “That can also, that must also be accompanied by sanctions,” said Merz. There should be no waiting periods, but an incentive, “if necessary, sanctions,” said the CDU leader.
The Federal Constitutional Court has given a very narrow scope for this. “Using this narrow leeway, including sanctions and cuts in the event of persistent refusal to cooperate, is a requirement of the welfare state, including those who pay taxes and social security contributions,” said Merz.
The term citizen money can be understood in such a way that everyone in Germany is actually entitled to it. However, it should be noted that this is a tax-financed social benefit.
You are also committed to this in principle, but the message must be: “Not everyone in, but out again as quickly as possible so that those who receive social benefits can quickly become employees again,” said Merz.
German Economic Institute: “Time of trust” sends the wrong signal
The labor market expert at the German Economic Institute (IW), Holger Schäfer, criticized in the “Rheinische Post” among other things the previously planned regulations on “trust time”: “With the so-called, almost sanction-free trust time, newcomers are given the signal that they can take their time when looking for a job.
>> Read here: What the federal government is planning for the Hartz IV successor
Every day counts when it comes to reintegrating into the labor market: the longer someone is unemployed, the worse their chances of ever returning to a job.”
The “trust period” is one of the catchwords in the citizen money law. The traffic light says they don’t want to put anyone under general suspicion. For this reason, benefits should only be reduced in the first six months of receiving citizenship benefit (“trust period”) in exceptional cases if someone persistently does not cooperate with the job center.
More: Disputes about spare assets, sanctions and waiting periods – projects must not fail because of trifles