In the dispute over the 2025 federal budget, Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) has called for significant savings from the Foreign Office and the Development Ministry. The ministries are fighting back.

Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) has called on the Foreign Office and the Development Ministry to review their spending policies in the dispute over the 2025 federal budget. Both would have to ask themselves the question: “Are we really improving life chances with our tax money or do the projects serve German interests,” said Lindner to the Bavarian media group newspapers.

“In international politics, hard security and support for Ukraine must be a priority. It’s about peace and freedom for Germany.” That’s why we have to talk about the accuracy and scope of money for other parts of the world. “Since the CSU Development Minister (Gerd) Müller, there have been projects like the famous cycle paths in Peru that need to be questioned.”

The traffic light coalition is facing difficult negotiations for the 2025 federal budget. Lindner has called on the ministries to make savings, but several departments are resisting the cuts and demanding more money, including Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) and Development Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD).

Lindner wants to use the medium-term financial planning already decided in the cabinet as the basis for his budget. Instead of more than 6 billion, Baerbock would have to make do with around 5 billion euros in the future – despite the wars in Ukraine and Gaza, where a lot of humanitarian aid is needed. According to reports, Baerbock is now entering the negotiations with a demand of almost 7.4 billion – of which almost a billion is to support Ukraine.

Schulze also defends himself against cuts. It has registered 12.16 billion euros, which corresponds to the budget estimate for 2023. According to current financial planning, the budget should fall significantly to around 10.28 billion euros, according to a letter from the ministry that is available to the dpa.

The deputy FDP chairman Wolfgang Kubicki called for significant cuts in humanitarian aid and development aid. “I would make massive savings in the development aid budget. Because the first thing is to restore German competitiveness, only then can we help other countries,” Kubicki told “Welt am Sonntag”.

Compared to the other G7 countries, Germany spends the most on development aid per capita and in terms of gross domestic product. “If we were to average the payments of the other G7 countries, then we could save around 20 billion euros in humanitarian aid and development aid across departments – without feeling guilty,” said the Bundestag Vice President.

On Tuesday, under pressure from Lindner, the traffic light briefly postponed the cabinet’s discussion of the second pension package that had already been negotiated. According to media reports, Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) made particularly high demands in the negotiations on the 2025 budget.

“Business as usual was not possible for me. The registrations for the 2025 federal budget did not give the impression that everyone had recognized the economic realities,” said Lindner to the Bayern media group. “That’s why I first had to check with the Federal Chancellor and the Economics Minister whether we were still on the same page.”

When asked, the FDP leader assured that he had “never” threatened to break up the coalition. “But it is clear to everyone that an agreement on a budget and an economic turnaround are necessary so that projects like the pension package can ultimately find a majority in the Bundestag.”

Lindner did not want to comment on the amount of the total claims. “I cannot give an official figure because I do not accept various demands as a serious negotiating position. I can only say that the speculation that has been circulating in the media so far underestimates the amount.” Most recently, there was a gap in the double-digit billion range in the plans for the 2025 budget; figures between 15 and 30 billion euros were circulating.

Lindner once again rejected Defense Minister Boris Pistorius’s (SPD) demand to exclude defense spending and parts of crisis preparedness from the debt brake. By continuing this debate, Pistorius will “again shake the basic consensus of the coalition,” said Lindner. He also had to object on the matter. “We cannot finance national and alliance defense on credit. The level of debt and the interest burden would increase.”

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