Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner expects a quick agreement on key points in the traffic light dispute about the planned basic child security. “I expect that we will have an agreement on the cornerstones of what should be done very quickly,” said the FDP chairman in the ZDF “summer interview” in Berlin before a new round of negotiations with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Family Minister Lisa Paus (Greens) on Sunday afternoon in Berlin. Scholz had previously made it clear that he wanted to settle the dispute in a few days.

When asked by the moderator Shakuntala Banerjee whether there would be the key points up to the cabinet meeting this Tuesday and Wednesday, Lindner added: “I don’t want to name dates myself now, I say: very quickly. But then there are also very much technical, which still needs to be clarified.” Then associations and states would be involved, and only then would there be a finished draft law that would go to the Bundestag. “We will soon have a basic agreement and agreement on the cornerstones. The entire process will still take some time,” emphasized the finance minister.

Scholz told the newspapers of the Bavarian media group (“Passauer Neue Presse”, “Mittelbayerische Zeitung”, “Donaukurier”) at the end of this week: “The federal government will clarify by next week how the basic child security system will be structured in concrete terms.” The Chancellor added: “At the same time, Germany needs a nationwide range of crèches and day-care centers, if possible without fees. We are supporting the states in a federal-state program to ensure that this progresses.”

Dispute in the first meeting after the summer break

In the first cabinet meeting after the summer break, the dispute over basic child security escalated. Family Minister Lisa Paus (Greens) had blocked Linder’s law for more economic growth because she did not yet see the financing of her basic child security project secured. On Tuesday, Scholz and his 16 ministers want to meet at Schloss Meseberg near Berlin for their fifth cabinet retreat.

Lindner said on ZDF with regard to the dispute over basic child security that there were “no crisis talks on the subject, but there are working talks to specify a project”. He hopes “that we will very soon achieve that the existing services for children will be combined and that everyone who has a right will receive them.” However, he also hopes that there will be a clear incentive for people to seek work and integration. “And if that succeeds, it will be a good project.”

Apparently, Lindner does not expect the Chancellor to have a say in the matter. When asked about this, he said: “There can be no power words in a democracy, because you come together for common projects. And it’s about doing good for our country.” It is about improving the life chances of children and young people. In Germany, where you come from and where you grew up, you still have a very strong influence on your place in life. “That has to be changed. But the key to this is education, integration, language support.”

His position is clear, says the finance minister

Lindner emphasized that a family of five who do not work get a good 37,000 to 38,000 euros from the taxpayer. It is no longer about emergency care, “but the subsistence level is secured for those who do not work”. The impression is given that it is about impoverishment. “That doesn’t exist in our welfare state, but we are already very heavily involved with many, many billions of euros.”

The Minister of Finance said his position was clear: “As far as the level of security with money transfers is concerned, we have already done the essentials in Germany. Now we have to make sure that people work.” And on the other hand, it must be ensured that children and young people get a good education and that they have social participation – for example on a school trip.

With a view to Paus, Lindner emphasized that he “didn’t make any confrontation public” and that the dispute didn’t come from him. He pointed out that there is a connection between child poverty and immigration to Germany. “Those are the sober numbers.” This led to a reaction: “Some didn’t want to believe the numbers or didn’t want to address the number in public. But you have to address this connection.” On the other hand, he asked for loyalty to the contract: “The coalition agreement says nothing about a further expansion of services in the sense of financial transfers.”

When criticized that there was the impression that the principle of government was now a maximum of opposition, Lindner admitted: “The public impression is not satisfactory.” But you can only talk about things like basic child security and climate protection if there is a strong economic foundation.