“The SPD organizes chaos days in the coalition”
Labor Minister Heil’s plans for a basic pension anger the Union. Particularly harsh words now come from Bavaria.
CSU Secretary General Markus Blume has sharply criticized the SPD’s plans for a basic pension and accused the party of behavior that is harmful to the coalition. “The nerves are on the nerves of the SPD. While Europe is facing fateful days, the SPD is organizing chaos days in the coalition, ”said Blume to the“ Passauer Neue Presse ”. A basic pension without a means test is fundamentally wrong because it contradicts the coalition agreement and exploits the solidarity of all taxpayers.
Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil and Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (both SPD) had previously agreed on a concept for the basic pension. According to Heil’s plan, three million pensioners should receive a basic pension from 2021. In eastern Germany, 15 percent of all pensioners could expect the surcharge, in the west 11 percent. It should not be checked whether someone is needy: Income of the partner or assets should not be taken into account.
Heil puts the costs at 3.8 billion euros in the first year, rising to 4.8 billion euros by 2025. The basic pension is to be financed from the “abolition of superfluous tax subsidies for hoteliers and moderate taxation of financial transactions”, as Heil said. The end of the “Mövenpick tax” by the Union and FDP, which was associated with the reduction in the VAT rate from 19 to 7 percent in 2010, should bring 700 million euros according to Heil and Scholz’s bill. The SPD wants to divert around 500 million euros from the planned financial transaction tax, which is controversial in the EU. In addition, Heil wants to reduce the health insurance contribution rate for retirees from 14.6 to 14.0 percent. This would relieve the pension insurance and pensioners by around 800 million euros each. At the same time, access would tear a hole of around 1.6 billion euros in the coffers – that corresponds to a tenth of a point in the contribution rate. The reason for the redeployment is the argument that the relief for pensioners is fair because they do not receive sick pay.
According to the draft law, the Federal Employment Agency should also contribute to the financing. It is supposed to transfer higher pension contributions for the recipients of unemployment benefit I. So far it is contributions on 80 percent of the last income, in the future it should be contributions on 100 percent. This would shift € 900 million from unemployment insurance to the pension fund.
The CDU immediately rejected the coalition partner’s basic pension concept on Wednesday. CDU General Secretary Paul Ziemiak said on Wednesday: “This draft will not pass the German Bundestag.”
“This is the only way to reach an agreement”
The Union budget politician Axel Fischer added on Thursday that Heil’s proposals were “as well-known as well-worn stock topics for a populist-ideological election campaign with which the SPD would like to influence gullible voters”. With its advance, the SPD is damaging social cohesion and economic performance in Germany, said Fischer to the “Augsburger Allgemeine”.
The North Rhine-Westphalian Labor Minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) called on the governing parties to reach a compromise. A means test with a sense of proportion is necessary. “This is the only way to reach an agreement with the Union.” Laumann reiterated that, in his view, only current income should be taken into account when examining who receives an upgrade of small pensions. The saved assets or the size of the apartment should not be checked.
The pension policy spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group, Johannes Vogel, described the SPD plans as “downright hair-raising”. But he sees the Union as part of the responsibility. “The CDU and CSU are jointly responsible for this pension policy, which has been at the expense of the younger generation for years.”