September 21. 2023. 1:55

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Scholz to enforce spending cuts in ministries amid coalition clashes

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will reportedly enforce spending cuts across the federal ministries unless ministers justify their opposition after the Green and liberal coalition partners clashed over the topic.

Liberal Finance Minister Christian Lindner’s proposed spending cuts to plug an estimated €20 billion funding gap for the 2024 budget have caused much debate over the last few weeks.

Following a series of back and forths within the ruling coalition, Scholz has decided to take the lead on spending cuts, with ministers who oppose cuts to their departments now having to justify their opposition to him, several media reported, quoting government sources.

The move has the approval of Green Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck even though he and Lindner publicly clashed in a series of leaked letters at the start of the year, as Habeck opposed Lindner’s initial budget framework, proposing higher taxes instead to compensate for funding gaps.

Before Scholz decided to take the matter into his own hands, Lindner sent letters to all ministries except the Defence Ministry in an attempt to unilaterally prescribe cuts, Handelsblatt reported.

However, the Greens took the matter to the press Wednesday to publicly voice their displeasure.

“The federal budget requires the approval of the entire cabinet,” Sven-Christian Kindler, the Green chair of the parliament’s budget committee, told Rheinische Post, a thinly veiled threat that the party’s ministers might block an adverse proposal.

“We need a joint process to determine the budget content acceptable to all three of the coalition partners,” Kindler demanded.

He also criticised Lindner’s decision to spare the Defence Ministry from cuts, warning that cuts to social spending programmes would “weaken democracy and social cohesion.”

(Nick Alipour |

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