Status: 01/14/2022 12:02 p.m
Despite the planned supplementary budget, the federal government needed significantly less debt for 2021 than planned. Finance Minister Lindner said net borrowing was 24.8 billion euros lower than expected.
Last year, the federal government borrowed EUR 24.8 billion less than planned in the budget. This is the result of the provisional budget for 2021, as Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner announced in the Bundestag. At the same time, the FDP politician defended the controversial transfer of further unnecessary credit authorizations to the government’s energy and climate funds.
“It is not exhausted what would be possible”
In the budget for the past year, new debts of 240 billion euros were planned because of the corona pandemic. But part of it was not needed. “We do what is necessary, but we do not exhaust what is possible,” said Lindner. He had already presented a supplementary budget for 2021 in December, with which 60 billion euros in credit authorizations that were not required will be transferred to the energy and climate fund. As a new climate and transformation fund, this should primarily serve to finance the climate-friendly conversion of energy production and the economy. Lindner said that the money should be used to catch up on investments that were lost due to the Corona crisis and thus provide “impulses for economic recovery after the pandemic”.
Government wants to comply with the debt brake again from 2023
He also confirmed in the Bundestag that the government is striving to comply with the normal rules of the debt brake in the Basic Law 2023. In the years that follow, the debt ratio should be reduced. The traffic light government of SPD, Greens and FDP is also open to relief for citizens and companies. “There will be no tax increases.” He announced that he wanted to take stricter action against tax evasion: “Not increasing taxes, but enforcing tax law, that’s what I’m about.” Money will also be available for coalition projects such as the complete tax exemption of pension contributions, a Corona tax law and the care bonus, Lindner assured. “Stability, growth, innovation and fairness” are the goals of his financial policy.
Opposition criticism of supplementary budget
Union and AfD criticized the supplementary budget as unconstitutional because credit authorizations for the pandemic are to be reallocated and now used for climate investments. “You don’t want to use the funds to fight the pandemic, but for completely different purposes and at a completely different time,” said Union parliamentary group leader Mathias Mittelberg in the Bundestag. He referred to allegations by the Federal Court of Auditors that Lindner’s actions were not compatible with the debt brake in the constitution. Although “climate protection is a core concern of sustainability”, admitted Middelberg, this also applies to “responsibly managed households”. Therefore, the CDU politician demanded that Lindner withdraw the supplementary budget for 2021 presented in the Bundestag. For the left, Gesine Lötzsch called for a fairer distribution of wealth in Germany. She also called for a move away from the debt brake. Green politician Lisa Paus spoke of an upcoming “decade of investments”.
Second highest deficit since reunification
The Federal Statistical Office has meanwhile announced how high the total national debt was in 2021. The expenditures of the federal, state, local authorities and social security exceeded the income by 153.86 billion euros, as the authority announced in an initial estimate. This corresponds to a deficit of 4.3 percent of gross domestic product. This is “the second highest deficit since German unification”. In the recession year 2020, there was a minus of 4.3 percent or 145.2 billion euros, after years of surpluses. For example, because of the Corona crisis, the state spent a lot of money on emergency aid to companies and to support hospitals.
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