With Germany facing €60 billion budget crisis after top court ruling, the AfD party offers 5 budget cut proposals

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, center, Vice Chancellor and Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck, left, and Finance Minister Christian Lindner, right, held a joint statement at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
By Dénes Albert
6 Min Read

Last week, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled the left-liberal German government’s scheme to transfer €60 billion of unused coronavirus loans to the Climate Fund (KTF) was unconstitutional. The government, which was relying on the funds to finance its budget, is now facing a budgetary crisis. In turn, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) has proposed five areas where the government can make budget cuts, outlined in the bottom half of this article, with a focus on deporting migrants, ending weapon shipments to Ukraine, and shutting down the green energy transition.

The German Constitutional Court ruling on the supplementary budget has put Germany’s left-liberal traffic light coalition in deeper trouble than it originally estimated. While Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) said after the ruling was handed down a week ago that deliberations on the 2024 federal budget would continue as planned, the final consultation scheduled for Thursday has now been postponed.

“The Federal Constitutional Court has presented us with major challenges. We want to respond to this with care and draw up a budget that takes into account all the arguments in the ruling and at the same time the requirement of the Basic Law for the budget to be finalized this year,” said the budget policy spokespersons of the governing parties’ parliamentary groups in a joint press release.

Dennis Rohde (SPD), Sven-Christian Kindler (Greens) and Otto Fricke (FDP) explained in the joint statement that the Federal Ministry of Finance, in consultation with the federal government, must now address the budget challenge as quickly as possible, but within the confines of constitutional law. They wanted to give the opposition sufficient time for parliamentary deliberation before the individual plans that had not yet been discussed could be finally debated in the budget committee. They did not provide any information on a new timetable.

The government clearly lacks the money to move forward with its budget. However, the ruling affects at least one other special fund in the federal budget, the Economic Stabilization Fund (WSF). This fund is currently used primarily to pay for the energy price breaks, which are helping households keep afloat due to soaring energy prices.

If these payments to the WSF for the current year have to be reversed and transferred to the core budget, this would have a significant impact on the 2023 budget, as €37 billion have flowed from the WSF so far this year.

Germany’s Alternative for Germany has long warned that Germany’s decision to transfer coronavirus funds to the federal budget was unconstitutional, and now accuses the government of being unwilling to make cuts in areas that are eating up substantial amounts of money. The party outlined five areas where the government should make cuts.

Deport migrants

The AfD notes that the federal government is spending €27.8 billion on accommodation and care for migrants this year alone, and the party notes that most of them “are no longer allowed to be in Germany.” By deporting migrants en masse, the government could save billions. Other reports have put total spending on migrants in 2023 to be as high as €36 billion.

Stop the energy transition

The AfD writes that the “€60 billion declared inadmissible by the Federal Constitutional Court were unlawfully added to the climate budget. Therefore: Stop climate madness immediately, stop the energy transition, and increase nuclear power.”

The AfD notes that the energy transition is costing €30 billion per year. If Germany were to drop sanctions on Russian energy, it would also create an immediate boon for the country’s industrial sector through cheap energy.

End weapon deliveries to Ukraine

The federal government has spent €15 billion on Ukraine, including in the form of aid and weapons, and those costs are expected to further balloon. The AfD calls for an immediate halt of arms deliveries and a focus on rebuilding Germany’s armed forces.

End frivolous foreign aid handouts

The AfD is also calling for an end to irresponsible spending on foreign countries, noting that the Nigerian government recently boasted about SUVs and yachts for the ruling government after Germany sent it €40 million. In addition, the €4 billion Chancellor Olaf Scholz promised through the “EU-Africa Initiative” may have to be reconsidered in light of the recent German Constitutional Court ruling.

Stop paying for beauty services

The last point seems to be more of a political jab at Germany’s ruling class, with the AfD noting that the government is spending a total of €1.5 million for manicures, hairstyles, makeup, and photographers for officials. Although it would ultimately be a drop in the bucket of the overall German budget, cutting these expenditures would be a symbolic victory against wasteful government spending.

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