Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) wants to fundamentally revise citizens’ money through a Federal Council initiative and is also calling for the increase in benefits to be postponed. “The traffic light must postpone the increase planned for January by a year and start it again completely,” said the CSU boss to the magazine “Stern”.

“The benefit must be separated from escape and asylum. More motivation is needed to go to work. That’s why we will introduce an initiative in the Federal Council to completely overhaul citizens’ money. Because the balance between support and demand is not right,” said Söder, justifying the initiative.

The Prime Minister criticized that citizens’ money had not passed the practical test, the overall level was too high, and it provided the wrong incentives. “Anyone who works must receive noticeably more than someone who doesn’t work. That’s why we need changes.”

Djir-Sarai: Reassessing citizens’ money

In view of the budget problems, FDP General Secretary Bijan Djir-Sarai called for the significant increase in citizens’ money planned for January 1st to be withdrawn. “It is completely clear that the welfare state in Germany costs too much money. Every third euro that the federal government spends goes towards social spending. That is no longer possible,” said Djir-Sarai to “Bild am Sonntag”.

“Therefore, it is now urgently necessary to reassess citizens’ money. The planned increase on January 1st is no longer appropriate,” added the FDP politician. It cannot be the case that the government increases citizens’ benefits by twelve percent in times of tight budgets and with the lowest inflation since 2021. Social Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) must stop the planned increase. “Everything else cannot be conveyed to the working population,” explained Djir-Sarai.

Payments to Ukrainian refugees

Söder also called for a stop to citizen’s benefit payments to newly arriving Ukrainian refugees. “It would not be legal to delete something retroactively. But we have to change course for all new cases,” said the CSU politician. “And for everyone else who comes to us, social benefits should only be available after five years instead of after 18 months.”

The Union parliamentary group’s domestic policy spokesman, Alexander Throm, had also spoken out in favor of ending the payment of citizen’s money to newly arrived refugees from Ukraine. “The fact that the war refugees from Ukraine would all immediately receive citizen’s money was well-intentioned by everyone involved when it was decided,” said the CDU member of the Bundestag to the German Press Agency. However, the decision proved to be counterproductive in terms of the willingness to take up work.

The more than five million citizens’ benefit recipients should receive an average of around 12 percent more money on January 1, 2024 – single people will then receive 563 euros. In contrast to previous adjustments, the sharply increased inflation for months was taken into greater account in the calculation for 2024 due to a change in the rules.