MIL OSI Translation. Region: Germany / Deutschland –
Source: CDU CSU
Mister President! Dear Colleagues! Our constitution is a valuable, great good. There is a reason that to change it, a two-thirds majority is required both here in the Bundestag and in the Bundesrat. Anyone who discusses a constitutional amendment pays very close attention to the words they use. It was the same in 2009. With a lead of ten years, after FöKo I and FöKo II, and probably much longer, we thought about how we could not leave future generations with the enormous mountain of debt that led to the Time had already accumulated. We discussed ten years before this formulation in the Basic Law came about. And the debt brake in the form in which it was formulated has proven its worth.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU and the FDP)
You have to be very clear today. Not only the fundamentally balanced budget has proven itself, but also the scope in emergency situations.
Despite the debt brake, we have investments at record levels. We reduced debt in 2010 from over 80 percent to below 60 percent in 2019. We all know that in each committee we had discussions about additional measures that we would have liked. Often, however, they were not initiated because we said: the debt brake does not allow that. – So it is absolutely clear that we would not have been able to launch the enormous funding programs in 2020 if we had already spent the money. So again: The debt brake has proven itself in terms of a balanced budget and also in terms of the emergency situation.
We weren’t naive. In 2009 we wanted to have a debt brake that would not be suspended again during the first crisis. That is why we discussed this second sentence for a very long time: “In the event of natural disasters or other extraordinary emergencies that are beyond the control of the state …”, additional debts may be incurred. This sentence has proven itself; and I thank Ms. Hajduk, who presented this from the opposition’s point of view. It is precisely because of this phrase that we can get the current aid programs off the ground.
I am somewhat amazed at the AfD’s proposal; because at that time over 100 scientists discussed this sentence. No one came up with the interpretation you came up with. Nobody has demanded that the state first have to lose control of a situation in order to make use of the corresponding options.
(Peter Boehringer [AfD]: It’s in the Basic Law! It’s literally in the Basic Law!)
That wasn’t the point. It’s not about the state’s loss of control. That would have been absolutely irresponsible. The point was that the cause of the emergency was not under state control, that the situation was not caused by wrong state action. I can’t remember anyone who said at the time: first we have to be completely in the basement and then we can set up emergency aid.
(Siegbert Droese [AfD]: Take a look at the Basic Law!)
That would have been completely stupid. And you can be sure: I and Ms. Hajduk too, I believe, would have considered such an interpretation to be completely absurd at the time.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU and MPs from the SPD and FDP – shouts from the AfD)
From what you say we shouldn’t have taken any precautions. So we should have waited until everyone was sick; because that would have been the state’s loss of control. We shouldn’t have given any money to research into vaccines, because that’s also state control. You even smugly write that aid for companies would only have fulfilled the debt brake, as you interpret it, if the companies had been closed because no one can come because they are sick. – That is so absurd that I cannot understand at all how such an interpretation can be presented here in an application.
That was not wanted. We wanted the state to remain in control, and we wanted the emergency situation itself not to be caused by state action. And you can be certain – I think those who were there at the time will see it the same way -: If we had foreseen this situation today, we would have written this virus into the constitution as an emergency situation. We didn’t think back then that something like this could happen, but that was definitely the reason for this exceptional situation.
But it is not just that you are presenting an interesting interpretation of the constitution: you go even further. You no longer attribute the blame for this situation to politics. They say: you have state control. – We could take a breath now. – So you say: There is no state loss of control. – But do not dare to write the following sentence – I have to read it here with the permission of the President because it is really breathtaking -:
It is the inviolable obedience of the vast majority of citizens that has robbed the economy of sales and the state of tax revenue …
That is unspeakable. They tell the mother, who is afraid for her child, why she wears a mask and moves as little as possible in public: You rob the state of tax revenue; you are responsible for this financial situation. – You tell the retailer who is fighting for his existence but still obeys the rules: It is your fault that this economic situation arose. – That is so profoundly mean that I cannot understand at all how one can write such a sentence into an application. But you can be sure that we don’t agree with you!
(Applause from the CDU / CSU and members of the SPD)
The politicians are not to blame for this situation, it is not the responsibility of the people who obey the rules – a virus is to blame for this situation and we want to fight this virus together with the citizens. Therefore, something like this is absolutely out of the question.
This exception to the debt brake is exactly what we had in mind at the time. By applying it now, we are taking action together with the citizens against this crisis, and we are doing this although we are investing, although we have launched school and kindergarten renovation programs in recent years. The digitization catastrophe in schools is also not due to the money; because the digitization fund has been available for years. The money is here; it just won’t get it.
So once again: The debt brake has proven itself. – Nevertheless, Ms. Hajduk, I can imagine that after this acute situation we will talk about how things will continue in the following years. And of course it may be that we then come to the result that one or the other point has to be refined. The colleague from the SPD has already said: It is strange that the countries at that time expressly waived their own debt option. Maybe they would decide differently today. – And it is their right to decide otherwise today.
And: Yes, we have to see what happens over the years after the acute situation – gladly! Eckhardt Rehberg will also be happy to lead the discussion with us. We should do that, but not from the perspective of lifting the debt brake, but rather from the perspective of sharpening it so that entrepreneurs can also be sure that they will receive aid from state funds in one of the next crises so that we can get out of this situation get out again quickly and so that we can comply with the debt regulations at least for the consumer sector and for normal investments as soon as possible. I urge you to do that.
I would like to thank all citizens who, obedient to the rules – which the AfD obviously perceives as an insult – try together with us to tackle the crisis.
Thank you very much.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU and Deputy Sonja Amalie Steffen [SPD])
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.