Chancellor Olaf Scholz supports Finance Minister Lindner

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Written By Maya Cantina

Berlin. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) initially sided with Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) in his coalition’s budget dispute. “The Minister of Finance gave the departments boundaries – that was agreed with me. Now the usual laborious process of harmonizing wishes and reality begins,” Scholz told “Stern” magazine. “I hope everyone is aware of their responsibility and that we can do this together.”

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Scholz said he had his ideas about possible savings, without being more specific. “Each of us feels the financial consequences of the war in Ukraine, the costs for refugees, arms supplies and development aid. Anyone who says that this is barely noticeable in the budget is wrong,” he explained and then made two guidelines: “We must not sin against social cohesion nor abandon stimulating growth.”

“Don’t make life too easy”

When asked about new exceptions to the debt brake, which Lindner and the FDP oppose, Scholz replied: “We should not make things too easy for ourselves. Now it’s time to sweat.”

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The ongoing negotiations over the federal budget for the coming year will be another stress test for the coalition. Several federal ministries do not want to adhere to Lindner’s strict cutback guidelines – which Lindner in turn sharply criticizes. The aim is to reach an agreement in early July.

Criticism of the Minimum Wage Commission

In an interview with ‘Stern’, Scholz also spoke out in favor of a gradual increase in the minimum wage to 15 euros. “I am clearly in favor of raising the minimum wage first to 14 euros and then to 15 euros in the next step,” he said. At the same time, he criticized the Minimum Wage Commission. “The employers only insisted on a mini-adjustment.” Moreover, they had broken with the tradition of making decisions by consensus, the SPD politician said. The current intention is to increase the minimum wage next year from the current 12.41 euros to 12.82 euros.

Katrin Göring-Eckardt (Alliance90/Greens) also advocates an increase in the minimum wage.

Katrin Göring-Eckardt (Alliance90/Greens) also advocates an increase in the minimum wage.

The demand for a minimum wage of 15 euros previously also came from the ranks of Greens, Left and the Verdi trade union. In order for everyone to make ends meet with their income, a legal minimum wage of 14 euros this year and 15 euros next year is needed, Green Party politician Katrin Göring-Eckardt said recently. There was also criticism from the SPD that the planned increase was too low.

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The minimum wage is determined by a responsible committee in which the social partners are represented. In 2022, the government increased it by law to twelve euros, a first step of its kind – a key election promise made by Scholz before the last federal elections. “We have created the largest salary improvement in years for employees in the low-wage sector,” Scholz continued to Stern. All warnings about job losses have proven unfounded.

RND/dpa

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