German Budget Crisis: Ruling Coalition Abandons Efforts to Finalize 2024 Budget Before Year's End
Germany's ruling coalition admits it won't finalize the 2024 budget by the end of the year, despite efforts. SPD lawmaker Katja Mast revealed the delay, highlighting the government's struggle following a top court decision last month that significantly impacted Germany's political and financial stability. The coalition, comprised of the SPD, Greens, and FDP, is seeking ways to address a €17 billion shortfall in the upcoming budget.
Mast, in a leaked message to SPD colleagues, acknowledged the impossibility of adopting the budget on time. Consequently, the government must begin the new year with an interim budget, limiting new spending while continuing to fund vital services. However, investments in areas like the green transition and technology production are on pause.
The coalition has been under pressure since a court ruling created a €60 billion financial gap and restricted the use of special funds, challenging the country’s constitutional debt rules. Chancellor Scholz, along with ministers Habeck and Lindner from the different coalition parties, are tasked with reconciling varying priorities to reach a budget agreement, ideally by early January.
A government spokesperson remained hopeful about reaching a draft agreement this year, but ongoing disagreements, especially over subsidies, suggest challenges remain. The Greens and SPD champion continued support for the green energy transition and tech manufacturing, while the FDP's Lindner questions the long-term viability of such subsidies for Germany's competitiveness and social security.