"Prosperity, liberty and peace – that is what people expect us to deliver," underlined Chancellor Angela Merkel in the general debate on the budget. The budget is as differentiated as peoples’ standpoints. The focus is on providing stability, ensuring comparable living conditions, and wherever possible leaving people with more money in their pockets.
Fifth consecutive budget without new borrowing
The 2019 budget is the fifth consecutive budget with no new borrowing. That is "good news for the young generation" and a good precondition for mastering the challenges facing us, said Angela Merkel.
3,000 new jobs will be created in the security sector. 15 million euros will be spent by the German government on digitalising police work, because the people are "entitled to a properly functioning rule-of-law state".
People should have more money in their pockets
The burdens of families and those in work will be reduced by ten billion euros over the next two years. In this context Angela Merkel pointed to the reduction in fiscal drag, increases in tax-free allowances, higher child benefit and higher tax-free allowances for children.
The German government intends to do more to encourage the construction of social housing so that rents remain affordable. The preconditions are to be put in place for the construction of 1.5 million new homes over the next few years. One option is to make it easier to offset pertinent expenses against taxable income. All activities are to be discussed at a housing summit to be held on 21 September.
Justice reflected in the way we treat the elderly
The German government has ensured that pension levels will remain constant until 2025, as well as improving disability pensions and pensions for mothers. The pensions commission is to draw up proposals for the post-2025 period.
The question as to how people will live as they grow older and how we treat nursing staff is central to the issue of justice in our country, said the Chancellor. That is why the nursing profession must be made more attractive, she stressed. This not only affects working conditions and pay. What is needed is a general revaluing, because nursing is a "splendid profession".
Migration – a test for Europe’s cohesion
Germany only has a future in a stable, properly functioning Europe. That is why it is "in our own best interests to ensure that Europe is strong". The way we deal with migration and solidarity are "sore points in the European Union". No solution has yet been identified. Germany is willing to be part of European solidarity. The background is that some Eastern European EU member states are not willing to take in migrants and refugees.
It is also necessary to strengthen the protection of the EU’s external borders. "But that also means that the states on the external borders relinquish some national competencies, so that Frontex has comprehensive authority," said Angela Merkel. Frontex is the EU’s common border protection agency.
Political solution for Syria
Commenting on the current worrying situation in Idlib, the Chancellor pointed out that the German government is working for a political solution. The answer cannot be to look away, if chemical weapons are used somewhere or international conventions contravened. "Our stance cannot be just to say ‘No’ in principle, no matter what happens in the world," said Angela Merkel.