So far, the offices of the Hamburg parliamentary groups have been divided between the town hall and seven office buildings in the city center of the Hanseatic city. Parliament sometimes even has to move to other buildings for committee meetings. A common “House of Citizens” is now supposed to change that – and at the same time solve a few other problems in parliamentary operations.
This Wednesday, the factions of the SPD, Greens, CDU and Left will submit an application to the citizenship, with which they will instruct the citizenship office - the parliamentary administration - to look for a suitable house near the town hall. Offices for all employees of the parliamentary groups are to be found in the building in the future. In addition, there should also be rooms for the employees of investigative and special committees as well as commissions of inquiry.
In the new house of citizens, the distances would be short, votes and cooperation between the parliamentary groups would be easier, according to the application. In addition, the work of the parliamentarians could be made more transparent for citizens and a central point of contact offered.
Last but not least, the parliamentary groups are pursuing the goal of reducing office costs with their motion. Because each faction is currently looking after suitable rooms on their own, renting them for short periods of time. Because the funds that are available for this are always tied to the respective legislative period. In Hamburg, this currently lasts a maximum of five years, with new elections the intervals can be shorter. This makes many rentals expensive. If the citizenry were to hold a house themselves, this problem would be solved.
In addition, the citizens' representatives could also make their own ideas about the furnishing of the house in the event of a large rental. While the offices today are sometimes in old buildings with low technical standards, the offices in the new "House of Citizens" should be very modern in terms of technology and energy efficiency.
"With the 'Haus der Bürgerschaft' we want to put an end to the practice of inflexible and cost-intensive office rentals, which are scattered throughout the city centre," explained the parliamentary group leader of the SPD, Dirk Kienscherf. "Politics thrives on constant and close dialogue between all those involved," emphasized Green Party leader Jenny Jasberg. It is about the exchange between politicians and the outside world. Although the application has so far only been an examination order for the citizenship office, Left Co-Chairman Cansu Özdemir was already looking forward to the fact that the citizenship as a whole would soon have a common address.
But there is not only approval for the plans. The taxpayers' association, for example, still sees many questions. A well-functioning citizenship is certainly also in the interest of the city's taxpayers, said state chairwoman Petra Ackmann. But why the current rooms in the town hall cannot be modernized and adapted in such a way that they are sufficient for the citizenry remains incomprehensible from her point of view. "We also ask ourselves why all the big companies are currently renting office space and why the citizenry is obviously sticking to the old ways of working," says Ackmann.
According to media reports, an office building on Alter Wall has already been shortlisted for a house of citizens. In 2025, the parliamentary groups could all move in there.