In the traffic light coalition, there has been a dispute over the planned additional spending for the Bundeswehr of 100 billion euros. Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) insists that the sum must be made available through an amendment to the Basic Law. In doing so, he opposes a move by SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich. The FAZ had said Mützenich that the 100 billion euros could also be decided with a simple majority in accordance with Article 115 of the Basic Law if the Union, which is needed for a two-thirds majority to change the Basic Law, objects in the Bundestag. Article 115 sets a credit limit for the federal budget that can be circumvented in emergency situations.
“It is not an option for the Bundeswehr to circumvent the debt brake with a simple majority,” Lindner told the German Press Agency on Monday. He had specifically proposed a special fund in the Basic Law so that the debt brake remained intact. “A softening would be constitutionally questionable and not to do with the FDP,” said Lindner.
“The feeling that everyone here is really pulling in the same direction”
Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) considers it unnecessary to go it alone with the traffic lights, as Mutzenich had suggested. She “currently has the feeling that everyone – CDU/CSU, SPD, Greens and FDP – is pulling together here,” said Lambrecht on ARD. She therefore assumes “that these constructive talks will also lead to a result before the summer break,” said the minister.
Mixed signals came from the Greens. Party leader Ricarda Lang said that the original proposal would continue to be used. “The goal remains a special fund through an amendment to the Basic Law.” The chairwoman of the Greens parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Britta Haßelmann, on the other hand jumped in Mützenich. They are working on the traffic light bill and are also in talks with the Union. However, Haßelmann emphasized to the editorial network Germany: “During the hearing of experts on the draft law, alternative implementation options were also addressed.” This was also pointed out by Mützenich. “If Germany is in an emergency situation, Article 115 allows borrowing by a simple majority,” he had said. Such an exception was recently decided because of the corona pandemic.
Union politicians reacted negatively to the advance of Mützenich. “It’s a threat that I don’t take seriously,” said Mathias Middelberg (CDU), one of the deputy chairmen of the Union faction. Deciding on the planned billions using Article 115 would be “extremely difficult” from a legal point of view, he said on ARD. “And I also believe that politically it would not be the wise signal.” However, Middelberg was flexible when it came to the two percent target for the defense budget. “We don’t have a slavish idea, it has to be two percent every year.” The “order of magnitude” of the expenditure, measured in terms of gross domestic product, must be achieved approximately and over several years.
The CDU foreign politician Norbert Röttgen was “disappointed” with the statement by Mützenich on Monday. This fuels doubts about the will of the coalition to come to an agreement with the CDU and CSU. Röttgen spoke out in favor of the “democratic center in Parliament” jointly deciding on the 100 billion fortune.
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