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"Hardly willing to compromise" - the chancellor lets the states accumulate

After all.

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"Hardly willing to compromise" - the chancellor lets the states accumulate

After all. This Prime Minister's Conference (MPK) with the Federal Chancellor used this Tuesday. Stephan Weil (SPD), Prime Minister of Lower Saxony, was given a few minutes of television to the right of the Chancellor as the new chairman of this state committee. Five days before a foreseeable tight state election, which is about your own re-election, that's not a bad deal.

Beyond this small personal advantage, however, the round did not really make any progress this Tuesday with saving the economy and prosperity, which all 17 heads of government have volubly committed themselves to in this historic crisis. On the one hand, this was due to the fact that the most important building block of the planned state rescue measures, the “defence shield” announced by the traffic light coalition last year, already has a price tag – 200 billion euros – but no real structure yet. So far, no one knows who is to be helped with this money under what circumstances and to what extent – ​​and who is not. The long-awaited proposal from an expert commission is expected for the weekend.

On the other hand, as quickly became clear in the press conference following the meeting of the heads of government, the federal and state governments simply still disagree about the exact modalities of financing their rescue efforts. Also about everything else that will actually be necessary to get through this historic economic crisis. Whether, after three relief packages and a "double boom", the planned defense shield, further measures may need to be financed. The federal states had put a whole list of necessities and possible additional burdens on the table for the federal government. The Federal Chancellor did not want to pay any attention to these in detail – at least not yet.

In the press conference that followed the four-hour meeting of the heads of government, Olaf Scholz preferred to limit himself to a few rough lines, listed facts that have been known for a long time and calculated that of the around 295 billion euros that the federal and state governments are currently planning for emergency aid, 240 to 250 billion would be financed from the federal treasury. "A decent number," as Scholz emphasized. Incidentally, it was his "confident summary of today's conversation" that the alliance between the federal and state governments was finally successful.

At least the Union-led countries are a long way from this assessment this evening. According to their spokesman, the Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hendrik Wüst (CDU), they have "only made a few steps forward and are far from having reached their goal". "Despite the constructive attitude of the federal states, the federal government has shown little willingness to compromise on very important issues". The Kiel Prime Minister Daniel Günther, the Hessian Prime Minister Boris Rhein and Friedrich Merz made similar statements. The CDU party leader spoke of an "evening of missed opportunities that leaves the citizens unsettled".

These formulations, which are very drastic for the “Prime Minister Conference” format, may also have a little to do with the upcoming election Sunday in Lower Saxony – the SPD and the Union could well be in a neck-and-neck race there. The Unionists' skepticism is therefore not unfounded.

In clear contrast to his colleague Wüst, SPD Prime Minister Weil spoke of a “big step” that was made on Tuesday. But Weil also conceded that no progress had been made either in financing the housing benefit, which the federal states believe should be the sole responsibility of the federal government in the future, or in the issue of local transport tickets, or in the costs of accommodating the refugees. Not to mention possible further costs for “economic aid and hardship regulations”, for hospitals and nursing homes, municipal energy suppliers, cultural events and sport, which the federal states would have liked to talk about.

So much, almost everything, remains vague after this meeting in the Chancellery. The next crisis meeting of the federal and state governments, which may be able to make a decision, should take place at the beginning of November at the latest. There is one advantage: state elections are no longer pending.

"Kick-off Politics" is WELT's daily news podcast. The most important topic analyzed by WELT editors and the dates of the day. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, among others, or directly via RSS feed.

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