Wild budget debate on “Anne Will”: After the Federal Constitutional Court’s ruling, Alexander Dobrindt and Katrin Göring-Eckardt argue about who is to blame for the budget mess and the way out. The traffic light receives harsh criticism, Dobrindt mutates into a troublemaker.
A show like a sandbox dispute. At the very end, Anne Will even has to stand up on her ARD talk show on Sunday evening to silence the arguments. Vogelwild is arguing about the ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court, which declared the traffic light coalition’s second supplementary budget for 2021 to be “void”, who is to blame for what and how the 60 billion euros could still flow into climate protection measures and the climate-neutral restructuring of the industry. But above all, the show shows that the traffic lights and politics in Germany are at a crossroads.
The protagonist of the discussion group is Alexander Dobrindt, who has been on a frontal attack right from the start. “The verdict has created clarity about the traffic light’s working style,” says the riotous chairman of the CSU regional group in the Bundestag. “She thought of a trick on how to cheat the debt brake.” Everything that the traffic light has done in the last three years has been “on the basis of fraud”.
Bundestag Vice President Katrin Göring-Eckardt responded by saying that everyone in the government had assumed that the budget was “not unconstitutional.” According to the Green politician, you don’t even attempt to consciously violate the constitution “when you’re leading a coalition as difficult as the traffic light.” Johannes Vogel, deputy federal chairman of the FDP, adds that one has to deal with the verdict “humbly”, but gets very confused when talk show host Will confronts him with the fact that his party leader Christian Lindner came across completely differently with recent statements.
“Mr. Dooobrindt. Really.”
“Spiegel” journalist Melanie Amann briefly notes a “tremendous shock for the traffic light,” which was “completely caught off guard,” and IFO President Clemens Fuest explains that one must “leave the church in the village,” because there are only 60 of them Billion euros, “an amount that can somehow be managed”. Then the argument begins. It’s going to be wild. Attack volleys and disruptive fire from all sides. How should the traffic light deal with the ruling? Where does the missing money for climate protection come from? What will happen to the debt brake? What comes along is rarely substantive.
After Dobrindt is “outraged” that “people in the traffic lights are acting as if the verdict never existed” and suggests that the federal government should reduce spending, for example on citizens’ money, Göring-Eckardt wants to defend himself. But she hardly gets a word in edgewise. The CSU politician keeps driving into her parade and cutting her off. This goes like this:
Göring-Eckardt says that it is now essential to talk about how employees are doing, what the worried economy is saying, and what will happen next for the climate fund. After all, “the climate goals are also a constitutional court ruling.” Dobrindt then counters, initially politely: “Forgive me, I can’t let you get away with that.” The Green politician wants to know whether he doesn’t think the climate ruling is important. “Please stick to the truth, Ms. Göring-Eckardt,” demands the CSU man when Göring-Eckhardt says that additional budgets have also existed in previous governments. Dobrindt keeps interrupting her. The Green politician reacts frustratedly: “Mr. Doooobrindt. Really.” Finally, she can explain that the urgently needed money for the climate fund is about the core of the economy.
“Nonsense!” shouts Dobrindt
Next, Dobrindt argues with Vogel. When the FDP man reported his “very serious” approach to the verdict, the CSU politician complained: “That’s a bold claim.” Vogel falls into the first name: “Dear Alexander Dobrindt, I let you go out for a while now, maybe you’ll let me now too.” The liberal wants a budget that provides work for more people, without mentioning specific measures. “Don’t we have to reform the pension system?” he suddenly suggests. Dobrindt: “Now it’s getting crazy.”
Talk show host Will wants to know what is happening now with the climate projects for which there is a lack of money. “Of course there is still a climate transformation fund,” says Vogel, but the plans “have to be changed through prioritization.” You don’t have to tackle all projects immediately. Dobrindt then intervenes again: “So abolish the heating law now?” A government “that works” would now be put together honestly, he rumbles. Göring-Eckardt tries to explain that this is exactly what is happening at the moment until the expert hearing on Tuesday, after which the budget will be decided in a special digital session on Thursday, but the CSU politician interrupts again. “Now it was my turn,” complains the Bundestag Vice President soberly and accuses her counterpart of “destructive ambitions”.
It is important that there is a budget for 2024, otherwise aid for Ukraine, for example, cannot be paid out, says Göring-Eckardt. “Nonsense!” shouts Dobrindt. The country should not be made even more unstable and the climate judgment and the budget judgment must be reconciled, she continues. “You have prepared a fraud,” he thunders. Göring-Eckardt is also becoming increasingly annoyed. “It was all public, we live in a democracy.” Dobrindt: “Everything they said is wrong.” Göring-Eckardt: “It has to be fair.”
Göring-Eckardt gives up, Will has to de-escalate
Specifically, IFO President Fuest, who wants to further increase the CO₂ price, will examine budget cuts and then introduce a “new special fund” for climate transformation. “We absolutely need more investment in the areas of digitalization and climate protection,” he says. But the traffic light also shows in the discussion group that they will hardly agree on many points in order to get the 60 billion euros for climate protection.
Göring-Eckardt suggests reforming the debt brake, but that, as Vogel also emphasizes, is of course a no-go for the FDP. The Green politician also wants to take a closer look at a number of “environmentally harmful subsidies”: With the abolition of tax breaks for kerosene and international flights as well as tax breaks for privately used company cars, “double-digit billions” could be saved annually. But her coalition partner from the FDP considers the plans to be “unsuitable”.
After its budget mess, the traffic light is actually at a crossroads because trust in the government continues to decline and a sensible budget is needed. Also for the climate. When Dobrindt and Vogel suddenly throw accusations at each other about the subject of migration and Göring-Eckardt slumps down in her chair, half annoyed, half amused, talk show host Will has to get up. Only then do the men sullenly give up.
Journalist Amann deserves the conclusion regarding the question of whether the government will collapse because of the dispute over the verdict: “We will see muddle on,” she says, “but the traffic light has been broken since the heating law.” Then any further sandbox squabbles fall apart because of the end credits melody.