Union blocks citizen money: CDU leader Merz refuses comparison with Trump

In the dispute over citizen income, SPD leader Klingbeil brings out the heavy artillery and brings the Union close to the AfD and Trump.

Union blocks citizen money: CDU leader Merz refuses comparison with Trump

In the dispute over citizen income, SPD leader Klingbeil brings out the heavy artillery and brings the Union close to the AfD and Trump. CDU leader Merz protests against "poisoning the political climate" and asks the Social Democrats for a one-on-one meeting.

Union faction leader Friedrich Merz has sharply rejected serious allegations from the traffic light coalition in the citizen money debate. "The moment we criticize, we are brought close to the AfD and compared to Donald Trump," said the CDU chairman before a meeting of the CDU/CSU deputies in the Bundestag in Berlin. "It poisons the political climate." For this reason, he is still looking for a conversation with SPD leader Lars Klingbeil this week. He has not yet responded to an offer to talk.

Klingbeil had accused Merz and Bavaria's Prime Minister and CSU boss Markus Söder of dividing society in the dispute over citizen money at the weekend. Anyone who behaves like this and "follows Donald Trump's path of spreading fake news, who believes that the country needs to be divided, has no place in the political center of this country." Merz said that the Union was "repeatedly asked to be a constructive opposition" from the traffic light. The CDU and CSU are very constructive with the offer to decide on the planned increase in Hartz IV rates this week. "You can't expect more from us."

Merz saw the introduction of citizen income as the next step towards an unconditional basic income. He notes the behavior of the coalition with increasing nervousness in his own ranks, "because they realize that they are also increasingly encountering public opposition." If the traffic light sticks to its plan as planned, the law "will almost certainly not find a majority in the Bundesrat next week," said Merz. Then the mediation committee between the Bundestag and the Bundesrat will "probably need a long time before a compromise is reached, if at all, with the federal states led by the Union and the CDU/CSU parliamentary group". That is why the Union's offer is meant to be taken this week to increase the Hartz IV rates in order to create planning security for those affected by January 1st. CSU regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt also called Klingbeil's allegations "an enormous intensification of the political debate".

The labor ministers of four federal states in which the Union is part of the government bundled their criticism in a key issues paper. In it, the heads of departments from Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein complained above all about the planned waiting period, after which any assets should only be checked and touched after two years.

The FDP in the Bundestag rejected the Union's push for citizen income. "Simply increasing the standard rates without reforming the system to improve performance justice and opportunities for advancement would be exactly the wrong way," said First Parliamentary Secretary Johannes Vogel in Berlin. "For us, the reform of the additional income rules in particular is one of the steps that we now have to take for modern basic security in Germany." Citizens' income is a necessary modernization of the welfare state. SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich called for the struggle to introduce citizen income instead of Hartz IV not to be misused for political debates.

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