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Discussion on Raise: Söder Now Threatens the Traffic Light Coalition with an Anti-Citizen Income Alliance

The significant increase of citizen income at the beginning of 2024 is causing conflict within the Union. The social wing is resisting demands from party leadership to stop the increase. CSU Chief Markus Söder is forging a new initiative. And leading FDP politicians are also demanding a 12 percent rollback of the raise.

The more than five million citizen income recipients are expected to receive an average of 12 percent more money as of January 1, 2024 – singles will receive 563 euros. Unlike previous adjustments, the months-long significant inflation was taken into account to a greater extent for 2024 due to a change in the calculation rules.

Söder Threatens the Traffic Light Coalition with the Federal Council

“The coalition must postpone the increase scheduled for January by one year and completely start over,” said the Bavarian Prime Minister Söder to the magazine “Stern.” “There needs to be more motivation to go to work. That’s why we will introduce an initiative for a complete overhaul of the citizen income in the Federal Council. Because the balance between fostering and demanding is not right,” Söder explained the move. “Those who work must visibly receive more than someone who doesn’t work. That’s why we need changes.”

FDP Secretary General Bijan Djir-Sarai also called for a rollback of the significant increase in citizen income. “One third of every euro the government spends goes to social expenses. This can’t go on,” Djir-Sarai told “Bild am Sonntag.” “That’s why it is urgently necessary to reassess the citizen income. The planned increase as of January 1 is no longer appropriate,” he added. It cannot be that the government raises the citizen income by twelve percent in times of tight budgets and with the lowest inflation since 2021. Minister of Social Affairs Hubertus Heil (SPD) must stop the planned increase. “Anything else is also not justifiable to the working population,” explained Djir-Sarai.

Heil: Citizen Income Raise in the Future “Relatively Paltry”

Finance Minister Christian Lindner has mentioned the social sector with the citizen income as one of three areas to plug gaps in the budget for 2024. Referring to the citizen income, the FDP leader pointed out in the newspapers of the Funke Media Group that the inflation rate has developed much better than forecasted when setting the rate for 2024. In November, inflation had dropped to 3.2 percent – the planned citizen income increase as of January is still based on an inflation rate of 9.9 percent, as explained by FDP social expert Pascal Kober.

Social Minister Heil had already rejected demands to suspend the increase. The minister refers to the mechanism that the significant increase is due to the high inflation this year. But if inflation decreases again in 2024, the subsequent citizen income increase will be “relatively paltry,” the minister predicted recently.

CDU Social Wing Warns: Do Not Disrupt People

The chairman of the CDU labor association CDA, Karl-Josef Laumann, also opposed scrapping the planned increase in citizen income for the beginning of 2024. “An adjustment of the standard rates was urgently needed for citizen income,” said the North Rhine-Westphalia Social Minister to the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND). It is wrong to criticize only social benefits in the current budget situation. “No one should think that the CDU is not standing by the common people,” Laumann warned.

CDA Vice-Chairman Christian Bäumler also emphasized: “The demand for social cuts in the current situation is wrong and should not be used to unsettle people.”

Germany unsettles the population and threatens social harmony. A policy that widens the gap between the poor and the wealthy is incompatible with the Christian human ideal,” Bäumler cautioned. He warned against undermining the “spiritual foundation of the Union” with “social welfare polemics.”

No citizen allowance for newly arriving refugees from Ukraine?

Another demand has emerged from the Union. Söder is proposing a halt to citizen allowance payments for newly arriving Ukrainian refugees. “It would not be lawful to retroactively remove something. But for all new cases, we need to change course,” said the CSU politician. “And for all others who are new to us, social benefits should only be granted after five years instead of 18 months.”

The Union faction’s domestic policy spokesperson, Alexander Throm, also advocated for ending the payment of citizen allowance to newly arrived refugees from Ukraine. “It was well-intentioned by all parties involved when it was decided that the war refugees from Ukraine would immediately receive citizen allowance,” said the CDU member of the Bundestag to the German Press Agency. However, the decision has proven counterproductive in terms of willingness to take up employment.

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