It will not work as fast as the SPD had hoped: in fact, the Social Democrats wished to agree on the basic pension with the Union as early as next week. But now the next meeting of the GroKo working group will take place on October 11th.
And there is still no agreement there. It will need at least another meeting, it says from coalition circles. The SPD negotiators to Labor Minister Hubertus Heil set to be able to break through the knot in mid-October.
But can that really work? In the Union, there are still serious concerns about the controversial project. He does not expect a quick solution, said CSU country group chief Alexander Dobrindt. His criticism: Heils suggestions went far beyond what has been agreed in the coalition agreement. Others in the parliamentary group of CDU and CSU see it that way. They insist on a means test, which is in the coalition agreement, of which the Social Democrats want to know but nothing more. In an interview with SPIEGEL, Union faction leader Ralph Brinkhaus opposes a generous ground rent.
The potential compromise is to look at the incomes but not the assets of potential beneficiaries. The pressure for agreement is immense. After the climate package, the basic rent is the crucial construction site of the coalition. If it does not come to a conclusion, the GroKo gets into existential difficulties.
Klingbeil emphasizes chance for the GroKo
This is mainly due to the situation of the SPD. The comrades are currently looking for a new party leadership. At their party conference in early December, they also want to vote on the coalition's mid-term review - and thus on a possible exit. If Heil's prestige project does not come, the GroKo supporters in the SPD should have a hard time.
This drama is aware of the Union, it says in the SPD. Secretary General Lars Klingbeil has recently been very confident that the basic pension is coming - and this is even an opportunity for the coalition. "For me personally applies: If we also get a real agreement on the basic pension after the climate package, then I believe that this coalition can hold until the end of the legislature," said Klingbeil the "Thuringian general".
For purely strategic reasons, that seems understandable. However, there are fundamental reservations in many parts of the Union against Heil's proposal for a ground rent. It does not work against old age poverty, it says. The financing concept was dubious. And there were major constitutional concerns because income might be treated unequally by a tax audit. Such a profound system change should not be rushed to avoid new injustices. On these points, the Ministry of Labor should again provide clarity until the next meeting.
Hardly anyone in the Union wants the break
The mixed situation in the Union is diffuse because the interests in the area of basic pensions are very different. Particularly restrained one is in the parliamentary group of CDU and CSU: That the SPD wants to spend billions of euros for a basic pension with its Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, while for projects of the Union as the strengthening of volunteering allegedly not much lower sums are available, does not only with the householders for incomprehension. In addition, the willingness to meet the SPD again clearly, extremely low.
However, because hardly anyone in the Union has any interest in breaking the coalition with the SPD, sanctions are very limited. Therefore, some within the Union part of the Federal Government is more willing to quickly and widely accommodate the coalition partners to finally clear the issue of dispute.
Anger over Mohring's advance
And then there are still East German CDU representatives with Thuringia's CDU leader Mike Mohring at the top: they see the land rent as a winning theme in the new countries, Mohring wishes for the upcoming state election in his state, a particularly quick agreement.
For displeasure in the Union made on Friday, that expressions of the Thuringian in the "Wirtschaftswoche" could give the impression that there is already a kind of agreement. There will be a simplified means test, Mohring said, citing costs of 2.8 billion euros for the year 2021, which would rise to 4.8 billion annually by 2025. That had not been agreed, it said from Union circles.
Also in the SPD one was not happy about Mohrings statements. He did not make an agreement easier with that. The top candidate of the Thuringian SPD, Wolfgang Tiefensee, is still confident that an agreement will succeed. But he also says: "We still have a long way to go - apparently longer than I would have liked."