Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) and Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) during the cabinet meeting in Berlin
Photo: Clemens Bilan / EPA
The Federal Cabinet has approved the budget draft by Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) for 2023.
The budget plan envisages a drastic reduction in net loans in order to be able to comply with the debt brake again after the high expenses caused by the corona.
New borrowing relevant to the debt brake of only 9.9 billion euros is planned - after almost 140 billion this year.
Exactly these 9.9 billion are "the number that the Basic Law allows," said Lindner when the draft was presented.
Further fresh loans are not to be counted towards the debt brake because there is a “consideration in the books” for each of these.
It is about payments to the statutory health insurance and to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) totaling 7.3 billion euros.
The FDP in particular is concerned about the return to the requirements of the debt brake.
Politicians from the SPD and the Greens, on the other hand, recently warned against overly strict austerity measures.
Lindner admitted that "very intense weeks" lay behind everyone involved, and that "an effort" was necessary.
Lindner thanked his cabinet colleagues that they had "insight into the new financial realities".
The goal was primarily achieved “through consolidation”.
Lindner pointed out that the total expenditure in 2023 should be 50 billion euros lower than this year at 445 billion euros.
Expenditure was cut in seven ministries.
In addition, a flat-rate reduction in staff budgets of 1.5 percent is planned - that corresponds to around 3,000 jobs.
Crisis-proof against Corona and war?
Lindner countered critics by saying that the federal government would have to provide around 30 billion euros in "capital service for old debts" next year alone - after four billion last year.
"There's a cliff in front of the state," he warned.
"We simply cannot afford additional debt." Lindner also rejected allegations that the budget was not making enough provisions in view of the uncertainties caused by the Ukraine war and the corona pandemic.
The draft budget is "crisis-proof".
The Federal Ministry of Finance also wants the draft budget to be understood as a signal to the European Central Bank.
In its monetary policy, the ECB does not have to take excessive debt in Germany into account.
"We're doing our homework, we're doing our part to fight inflation," said Lindner.
The minister had recently called on the ECB to take swift action to bring high inflation under control.
In Germany, it is repeatedly criticized that the central bank is pursuing a monetary policy that is too heavily geared towards highly indebted countries.