In the dispute over citizen income, the traffic light coalition has confirmed its willingness to negotiate. "The Free Democrats have already made it clear that they are open to constructive proposals from the Union, such as sanctions, protective assets or even more performance-friendly additional income rules," said FDP General Secretary Bijan Djir-Sarai in Berlin. "I am confident that a quick agreement on citizen income can be achieved if the Union participates objectively and results-oriented in finding a common solution."
The deputy FDP chairman, Johannes Vogel, made a similar point to the planned performance incentives as a result of the reform. "The citizen's income has a strong liberal core - and that is the stronger work and performance incentive for those affected," said Vogel.
SPD leader Saskia Esken also expected a good compromise in the mediation committee in the “Tagesspiegel”: they are ready to negotiate details. But Esken also emphasized: "The basic principles must be preserved." It is important that "we want to achieve a change in culture in dealing with unemployed people".
The planned citizens' allowance is intended to replace the current Hartz IV system. Among other things, the reform provides for higher standard rates and more intensive support for the unemployed.
CDU/CSU reject Labor Minister Hubertus Heil's (SPD) proposal. From the point of view of the Union, those affected should be allowed to keep too much wealth and have to fear too few sanctions if they do not follow the job center's specifications.
According to its parliamentary director Thorsten Frei (CDU), the Union faction is therefore considering again requesting that only the standard rates be increased by January 1st. Vogel replied: “The welfare state must build people a sure-footed ladder out of dependency. That's why it would be wrong to just raise the standard rates and leave everything else as it is today with Hartz IV."
Instead, FDP chairman Vogel explained: "With the citizen's allowance, we want to enable those affected to earn more than they do today." This increases their chances of advancement because their effort is more worthwhile.
As an example, the former chairman of the management of the Solingen-Wuppertal employment agency gave: “If, for example, a daughter or a son of Hartz IV recipients starts an apprenticeship today, they are only allowed to keep 200 euros. In the future it should be over 600 euros.”
He continued: “Today, for example, Annika, who grows up in a Hartz IV family and works in a mini job, can only keep 184 euros of 520 euros. If Ayse, whose parents are financially independent, does the same mini-job, then she can keep 520 euros.”
Today, young people so often learn early in life that their effort is not worth it and that it makes little difference if they work. With parents in a difficult situation, they would have worse chances. "That triggers something in the minds of young people," said Vogel, who is also parliamentary director of the FDP parliamentary group. "That's the opposite of opportunities regardless of origin." This should change with the citizen money.
The draft did not find a majority in the Bundesrat because of opposition from the Union after it had already been passed in the Bundestag. According to the Federal Council, the dispute is now to be resolved in an evening meeting of the mediation committee on Wednesday. According to the will of the Federal Government, the Chamber of States is to finally discuss the citizen income law on the following Friday (November 25th).
It is still unclear whether an agreement will be reached. The CDU chairman Friedrich Merz had recently called for "fundamental corrections" before the Union could agree to such a reform. CDU General Secretary Mario Czaja told the "Reutlinger General-Anzeiger" (Saturday): "We are still very far apart in our positions."
The labor market expert at the German Economic Institute (IW), Holger Schäfer, criticized in the "Rheinische Post" (Saturday), among other things, the previously planned regulations on "trust time": "With the so-called, almost sanction-free trust time, newcomers are given the signal that they can take their time when looking for a job. Every day counts when it comes to reintegrating into the labor market: the longer someone is unemployed, the worse their chances of ever returning to a job.”
The "trust period" is one of the catchwords in the citizen money law. The traffic light says they don't want to put anyone under general suspicion. For this reason, benefits should only be reduced in the first six months of receiving citizenship benefit (“trust period”) in exceptional cases if someone persistently does not cooperate with the job center.