Budget debate in the House of Representatives: coalition wants to relieve Berlin financially – opposition criticizes “absolute tragedy” – Berlin

It is about a total volume of around 75 billion euros: After the coalition partners from the SPD, Greens and Left had wrestled with each other for months, the decision on the double budget is expected for late Thursday evening.

SPD faction leader Raed Saleh started the more than two-hour general debate. He explained that the budget follows “the strategy of the affordable city”. The relief of the people who live in Berlin will be further expanded, said Saleh and proved this with the Introduction of a fee-free third year of after-school care.

The measure helps families “so that they can continue to afford life in the city,” said Saleh, explaining that the coalition wanted to “consistently continue its social course”. Other projects that Saleh mentioned were the expansion of the rail infrastructure and in particular the hiring of Funds for subway planning and additional funds to combat homelessness.

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the Creation of a naturalization center, which is to provide 20,000 people a year with German citizenship in the future and was one of the heart concerns of the SPD parliamentary group leader in the past budget negotiations, Saleh mentioned, as well as the restart program for the Berlin economy. “You don’t save in a crisis,” Saleh explained and announced that the special debt repayment planned for the coming year was “not automatic”.

Silke Gebel, leader of the Greens, emphasized the projects that are extremely important for her party to achieve climate neutrality in the city. “This double budget has to solve problems, both today’s and those of the future,” explained Gebel, adding that the coalition was igniting the “double climate booster” of climate neutrality and climate adaptation.

Silke Gebel praised investments in climate protection and healthcare.Photo: Jörg Carstensen/dpa

Examples of this “cross-sectional task” being accepted are the launch of a climate-neutral vehicle fleet for the fire brigade or the “Green Hospital Program”, which the Greens had anchored in the budget on Gebel’s initiative and which helps hospitals to save energy target.

With 570 million euros that will be made available for investments in hospitals by the end of 2023, the federal capital should become a “health policy beacon”, explained Gebel and at the end of her speech raised the claim that Berlin should be a climate-neutral, climate-resilient, feminist, just and social city make.

Left faction praises the strengthening of public infrastructure

Left parliamentary group leader Anne Helm emphasized the projects planned in the double budget to “shape the growing city socially”. “We want to offer everyone participation and the same living conditions,” said Helm, adding: “The better the public infrastructure is, the more resilient the city is to crises.”

Helm emphasized the project introduced by the left in the budget negotiations 380 million euro strong energy fund, which is intended to cushion cases of hardship among private individuals and the public sector due to rising energy prices. “We have taken precautions to cushion at least the greatest hardships,” explained Helm and announced: “No one will be thrown out of their apartment because of rising energy prices.” In addition, she praised the 650 million euros set aside for the accommodation and care of refugees.

Opposition leader and CDU faction leader Kai Wegner used his speech for general criticism of the red-green-red coalition that has been in power for six months. Their draft budget is like an “absolute tragedy,” said Wegner, accusing the coalition of putting sentiment ahead of the better idea.

CDU faction leader Kai Wegner sharply criticized the coalition.Photo: Christophe Gateau/dpa

In the face of “educational chaos, housing chaos and mobility chaos”, it is not enough to act with foresight, as Foreign Minister Saleh explained in his speech. Instead, the problems that Berliners have had for years must be solved in the short term, said Wegner, citing rising rents and a lack of apartments as well as the persistent misery at the citizen offices.

In addition, Wegner, who described the need for the mobility turnaround in Berlin as a “consensus”, criticized the reduction of parking spaces without the simultaneous expansion of public transport. “Finally create the offers so that people can use them,” said Wegner. He campaigned for the further construction of the A100 city motorway, for teaching staff to become civil servants and for giving the police the support “they deserve” with an investment program.

AfD: Less money for refugees, more for research

AfD faction leader Kristin Brinker accused the coalition of spending money “with plenty of hands” while the citizens had to save. “Good citizens of the city have to take responsibility for an orgy of debt,” Brinker explained, calling on the Senate not to incur any further debt. Specifically, she criticized the planned expenditure on development aid or the accommodation and food for asylum seekers.

The housing supply in Berlin should be dissolved as well as that Expert commission for the implementation of the expropriation referendum, explained Brinker and instead campaigned for the financing of a hire-purchase model proposed by the AfD, among others. Berlin needs a research offensive and should become Europe’s innovation capital, she explained.

FDP parliamentary group leader Sebastian Czaja criticized the coalition for the large number of test orders and reports provided for in the double budget. “The good will was there, but the assertiveness was lacking,” Czaja summarized the package that was passed six months late.

FDP faction leader Sebastian Czaja spoke of “abuse of office” by Red-Green-Red.Photo: dpa/Annette Riedl

“The Senate’s doing nothing is abuse of office,” explained Czaja, and campaigned for a “clear prioritization of future investments in the infrastructure, the education system and the digitization of administration.” depend,” said Czaja and criticized the fact that a hire-purchase model demanded by the FDP, among others, is not reflected in the household.

After the general discussion, the budget plans of all departments are discussed. The overall budget is only voted on at the end. The budget was drawn up later than usual this time because a new state parliament was elected at the end of September 2021. The new Senate presented its budget proposal on March 1st. This was then discussed by the members of the House of Representatives. (with dpa)

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