Leading German business associations have called on the traffic light coalition to quickly resolve the ongoing budget dispute. Employer President Rainer Dulger told the German Press Agency that savings of 17 billion euros from a federal budget of around 470 billion euros must be possible. “We don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem. We also don’t have a budget crisis, but rather a decision-making crisis with a lack of willingness to compromise,” he said. “This fuels uncertainty and only increases dissatisfaction with democracy.” There was no breakthrough on Monday evening in the negotiations between the coalition leaders about a budget for 2024.

Again discussions in the Chancellery

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) and Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck (Greens) have been looking for a solution to the budget crisis in three-way talks for days. The three top politicians also met in the Chancellery on Monday evening. According to information from the German Press Agency, the talks were postponed again late on Monday evening. Nothing was initially known about what happened.

The three traffic light leaders are struggling to plug a 17 billion euro hole in the 2024 budget and to enable investments in climate protection and the modernization of the economy in the next few years. Scholz expressed confidence on Monday that the negotiations would be concluded soon. Finance Minister Lindner also spoke of progress late in the afternoon. With a view to a schedule and the content, the FDP party leader did not let himself be seen in the cards.

Industry president sees uncertainty

Industry President Siegfried Russwurm also called on the coalition to find a quick and sustainable solution for the 2024 budget. There is already great uncertainty in the industry. “There is less investment in Germany. Many companies are at the end of their patience.” The President of the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), Peter Adrian, made a similar statement.

For example, it is controversial between the SPD, the Greens and the FDP as to whether the coalition should suspend the debt brake again next year and thus be able to approve billions in loans.

Employer President against suspension of the debt brake

Dulger spoke out against this: the problem was not the debt brake, but the high spending and the lack of reform. It’s all about prioritizing expenses wisely. “The federal budget presented for the coming year provides for more than five times as much spending on social services, personnel and interest as on investments. That is too much for consumption and too little for the future. This imbalance in the budget must be ended.”

DIHK President Adrian said the federal government was in a really difficult situation. “From an economic perspective, I have to say: Due to the economic situation with high energy prices and unclear framework conditions, we have already felt a great deal of uncertainty among companies across almost all sectors.” But this has now increased again because the fiscal framework is uncertain. “Nobody currently knows where the train will go in the future. This can be seen in both the innovation climate and the investment climate in Germany,” he said. “Unfortunately, both are dramatically bad.” There is currently no good basis that allows many companies to make long-term decisions. There was a lack of reliable framework conditions.