Does the traffic light also act according to the motto “faster, higher, further” in terms of budgetary policy? The adjustment session of the budget committee in the Bundestag is a ritual date in the parliamentary calendar. Then the annual federal budget is finalized before it comes to the plenary for the final vote. It is again shifted back and forth between the budget positions. A few billion are moved. The final touches are made. All ministers and their state secretaries must turn up in turn.
There is the possibility of questions and applications, which can also be used to add, delete or transfer smaller sums. The government is given the opportunity to smuggle additional projects into the budget in the hope that the opposition, given the flood of data, won’t notice. Usually this takes quite a long time. The meeting always begins on a Thursday around noon and usually ends around five o’clock the next morning.
Anyone who stopped by when the budget for 2022 was being adjusted saw something strange. Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger from the FDP, for example, came with the usual crowd of employees, armed for the barbecue. But after ten minutes she was already stepping out the door of the boardroom again. Speed dating in committee instead of numbers marathon? The fact that it lasted until just after two o’clock, which was the shortest cleaning session in a long time, is said to have been due to longer breaks. And, if you follow the Greens’ housekeeper Sven-Christian Kindler, the Union’s opposition behavior is somewhat different. There were only a few questions and requests from their side. The left with its two members was almost more productive.
But that could also be classified under the heading of labor economics – after all, opposition motions usually have no consequences because the majority rejects them. Union housekeeper Christian Haase didn’t even bother with the details on Friday, but mainly focused on the significant increase in jobs in the budget and in financial planning. He has counted in the personnel lists and has come to an increase of almost 9,300 posts and posts in the large area of federal administration.
Gross mind you. Because of course it will be deleted. According to Hasse, the net increase in jobs is a good 6,000 jobs. The traffic light coalition has increased significantly compared to the first draft of the budget by Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP), according to the calculations of the CDU politician. Lindner had planned a gross increase of 7,500 jobs. In the parliamentary process, the coalition added another 1,800 jobs.
These positions are not planned all at once, but relate to the entire financial planning period up to 2026. The number given by Haase is therefore a declaration of intent and does not yet represent a fact. Many positions are also vacant at the federal government, but they are in the budget. Although there is an increase in jobs in the ministries simply because of the change of government – that has always been the case.
The head of budget of the SPD, Dennis Rohde, chose the Federal Police as an example of how far-sighted the coalition is when planning their jobs. 2,000 of these new positions are therefore planned for the Federal Police. For the most part, however, only from 2025, because the future police officers first have to be found, recruited and trained.
However, the coalition seems to have had no problems in dealing with short-term challenges in view of the still quite comfortable economic situation – tax revenues also rose significantly in April – and its debt cushion of almost 140 billion euros this year. The one billion euros that Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has just pledged to Ukraine (beyond the previous military aid) was quickly included in the budget overnight.
And the traffic light parliamentarians were, if you follow the FDP housekeeper Otto Fricke, also diligent in freeing up funds through budget criticism: 125 million euros booked for little use were therefore discovered at the Ministry of the Interior and reallocated to a better purpose.
The left-wing MP Gesine Lötzsch discovered that the traffic light was initially being drawn from the full when she took a closer look at the budget. The government “greatly overtook” the equipment for the G7 summit in Elmau at the end of June. 50 million euros were planned anyway. Now another 30 million have been saddled up. The G7 summit at the same location in 2015, on the other hand, cost 15 million euros, and the security measures at that time were already considerable.