Hesse’s Prime Minister Boris Rhein is calling for a reorganization of the financial balance between the states and is also considering filing a lawsuit against it. “I think it is urgently necessary that we put the financial equalization of the federal states on the agenda and discuss the question of justice,” said the CDU politician to the editorial network Germany (RND). “Few countries pay, many collect,” said Rhein. That’s not a balanced relationship. “If the negotiations fail, the lawsuit is still an option,” said Rhein.

Bavaria’s Finance Minister Albert Füracker (CSU) announced on Thursday that the state government was already preparing a possible lawsuit before the Federal Constitutional Court. According to estimates by the Bavarian Ministry of Finance, the total volume of financial power equalization last year was around 18.5 billion euros – this sum was therefore redistributed between financially strong and financially weaker countries. The three southern federal states of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Hesse are the largest donors in the system.

Bavaria and Hesse had already sued in 2013

In 2013, Bavaria – together with Hesse – had already filed a lawsuit against the state financial equalization system at the time. The two states then withdrew their lawsuit in 2017 after the financial relations between the federal and state governments had been reorganized.

Rhein also called for further negotiations on the costs for refugees. “We negotiated a lump sum with the federal government in late autumn 2022. However, we now see that we need a detailed settlement of all refugee-related costs with the federal government.”

In November, the federal government announced that it would provide 1.5 billion euros for 2023 to take in refugees from Ukraine, which was under attack from Russia. An annual lump sum of 1.25 billion euros has been announced for people from other countries. From Rhein’s point of view, this is not enough: “We are experiencing such an influx that the flat rate will not be sufficient. The Federal Chancellor must recognize that”.