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Debate on Citizen’s Income: Spahn advocates tough penalties for job refusers – even if it requires a change in the constitution

According to Spahn, individuals who can work and receive a job offer but refuse it should essentially not receive citizen’s income anymore,” as per the newspapers of the Editorial Network Germany (RND). “If a general removal is not covered by the jurisdiction of the Federal Constitutional Court, then we should simply change the constitution.”

Spahn: Heil’s plans “are far from sufficient”

“Those who are offered a job or supported have the obligation to make use of it,” continued the CDU board member. “If someone still refuses, they cannot rely on being financed by others. This can also be included in the constitution.” The stricter sanction plans for citizen’s income recently proposed by Federal Minister of Labour Hubertus Heil (SPD) are a first step in the right direction, “but they are far from sufficient,” Spahn said.

Heil had indicated his intention to intensify “sanction options against total refusers”. The state will then only cover the housing costs to prevent the affected individuals from becoming homeless. However, the suspension of citizen’s income benefits is to be limited to two months.

The Greens, however, consider the planned suspension to be likely unconstitutional. “The Federal Constitutional Court ruled in 2019 that sanctions are usually only justified up to a maximum of 30 percent,” said Green Party deputy parliamentary leader Andreas Audretsch recently to the Düsseldorf “Rheinische Post.”

IG Metall calls Heil’s plan “mere symbolic policy”

Criticism of Heil’s plans also comes from the trade unions. IG Metall chief Christiane Benner told the Funke Mediengruppe newspapers, according to a report on Sunday, that the planned tightening of sanctions for citizen’s income is “mere symbolic policy”: “We have an extremely small number of radical job refusers.”

Benner criticized the Union for engaging in unsavory polarization. “Mr. Merz and Mr. Söder are pitting minimum wage recipients against citizen’s income recipients. That is irresponsible,” she said. “Let’s keep things in perspective. This concerns people who are economically screwed.”

The IG Metall chief said, “This is kicking downward, even though there are frequently black sheep on the side of capital – tax evasion, fraud, deception. And they cause greater damage, also to society, than the few citizen’s income recipients that the current discussion is targeting.”

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