MIL OSI Translation. Region: Germany / Deutschland –
Source: CDU CSU
Dear Madam President! Dear Colleagues! Ladies and gentlemen! The German Language Society recently named the word “Corona Pandemic” as word of the year. That’s no surprise. We all know what people have had to deal with this year, and consequently we too here in Parliament. In Austria, by the way, the word “baby elephant” is the word of the year. For our Austrian friends, “1 baby elephant” is the unit of measurement for the distance to be kept in Corona times. After all, every child knows how big a baby elephant is.
(Sonja Amalie Steffen [SPD]: I think that’s cute too!)
Because of Corona, the budget to be passed here in Parliament this week is already the third this year. The budget of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development will be written through at a record level next year: Over 12.4 billion euros are available for development cooperation in the next year.
How do the two budgets for 2020 and 2021 differ, are they almost identical in terms of volume? We are shifting the focus: from immediate crisis aid, for example in the health sector, to long-term stabilization measures such as cushioning the social and economic consequences of the pandemic. This year, the first goal had to be to provide quick, short-term help on site, and that is best done multilaterally. In the coming year, however, it will increasingly be a question of adopting a longer-term aid approach, and bilateral cooperation is best suited for this. We have significantly strengthened this compared to the previous year.
(Call from BÜNDNIS 90 / DIE GRÜNEN: Like the last eight years!)
The needs in developing countries are immense anyway, and the pandemic has made them even greater.
Yes, we will incur huge amounts of new debt this year and next. Taking these two households together, we spend around 1 trillion euros; that’s 1,000 billion or 1 million million. About 400 billion euros of this is financed by loans; that’s 40 percent. As a housekeeper, of course, you don’t jump for joy. But in view of the immense challenges, this is appropriate and necessary. To do nothing would be more expensive. Thanks to our solid black zero policy in recent years, we are in a position to take responsibility for this in this crisis situation.
It is thanks to the wisdom of our Basic Law that it obliges us to decide on a repayment plan at the same time as we take on new debts.
(Shout from the AfD: No, it doesn’t!)
Because it reminds us that what is appropriate and necessary in this particular situation may not be the right way to go in a normal situation.
(Shout from the AfD: We have been in this situation for decades!)
I would like to point out the following focal points of this year’s budget consultations: IFAD, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, is also very committed to global climate protection. We recognized this with a significant increase in funds. On our initiative, the IFAD will carry out a large project to protect the rainforest in Brazil, starting next year.
(Applause from members of the CDU / CSU)
The economy is also an important actor in the development cooperation context. We strengthen the excellent commitment of our economy. First of all, let me mention the Coalition for Health. She is committed to improving health systems in African countries: a goal that we are happy to support.
(Applause from members of the CDU / CSU and the SPD)
Another topic was often the focus of the consultations: We have to take precautions in order to be able to support our partners in the global south with the purchase of the corona vaccine; because if we want to defeat Corona, it is not enough if we only vaccinate in developed countries. A pandemic can only be combated on a global scale or not at all.
In many cases we housekeepers have been asked to make provisions for this in the budget by increasing it by 150 million euros. That’s a huge amount of money, no question about it. But it was always clear to us: when the vaccine is actually there, we will need much more than this 150 million euros if we want to support our partners effectively; and that is our firm intention. That is why we in the Committee on Budgets have decided on a different path: In Section 60 – General Financial Management – the title “… Coping with the COVID-19 pandemic” was created. The BMZ also has access to this title when it comes to supplying countries in Africa and elsewhere with the vaccine. We increased the funds for this title in the clean-up meeting from 5 to 35 billion euros, that is to say by a factor of 7 in total. There is really a provision here that meets the needs of the situation.
Finally, let me make a few general remarks. The BMZ budget has almost doubled in the past seven years. This development is undoubtedly also the personal merit of Minister Müller.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU and members of the SPD)
He achieved this great achievement with his tireless and extremely passionate commitment. And yet – that is an open secret – he has not always made it easy for his own group either. But Minister Müller is undisputedly a passionate and great fighter who works for the cause with heart and soul; and this must be expressly recognized at this point.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU and members of the SPD)
Dear Minister Müller, dear Gerd, I know that even I have not always made it easy for you; but that is also part of a householder’s responsibility.
(Applause from members of the CDU / CSU – cheerfulness from the SPD and the LEFT)
We now have to adopt the last regular budget of the current parliamentary term. I would like to thank you, Minister, and of course also the many employees in your company for the very good, intensive and always professional cooperation. It was an exciting time.
My thanks also go to my co-rapporteurs for the good and trusting cooperation. Three of them have already declared that they no longer want to belong to the next Bundestag. Dear Anja Hajduk, dear Michael Leutert, I found the cooperation with you to be extremely decent, even if we naturally did not always agree on all points, and it was a pleasure to work with you.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU as well as from members of the SPD, FDP, LEFT and BÜNDNISSES 90 / DIE GRÜNEN)
Dear Sonja Steffen, my very special thanks go to you as my coalition co-rapporteur; our work together has always been a celebration for me.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU and the SPD)
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.