Germany’s budget for 2024 isn’t in danger despite delays, coalition says

FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck walk after a news conference at the government’s guest house in Schloss Meseberg, near Gransee, Germany, March 6, 2023. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

BERLIN (Reuters) – The preparation of the budget for 2024 is not in danger, according to the coalition governing Germany, after its finance minister delayed presenting the first draft of the budget on Thursday, on differences within the three-way ruling coalition.

The pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), heading the Finance Ministry, as well as Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) stressed on Friday that the postponement of the budget should not be overinterpreted.

Lindner was due to unveil his plans for Europe’s biggest economy on Wednesday, as well as to outline financial planning through to 2027. Finance State Secretary Florian Toncar (FDP) told Reuters that the spending requests of many groups are still clearly too high.

“In recent years, the announcement of the budgets has been postponed more than once, even when I was finance minister,” Scholz said on Friday in Munich. By the end of the year, he said, a budget bill will have been passed in the Bundestag.

Economy Minister Robert Habeck made similar comments in Berlin on Friday, saying that postponement was not a big drama. There are no major demands coming from his ministry, he said.

Habeck said the debt brake has been suspended for three years due to the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. As a result, he said, high subsidy programs and social benefits, had become accepted as the norm. “We are trying to work this out together under changed conditions,” he said.

Talks will now continue within the government, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Finance said. The budget is not in jeopardy. The final government draft budget is planned for mid-June, but there is no fixed timetable for the steps before that.


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