Berlin (dpa / bb) – The SPD parliamentary group and state chairman Raed Saleh considers the extensive debt repayment planned in Berlin from next year to be wrong. In Berlin, budget deliberations are currently pending in the House of Representatives, while at the same time the country has to shoulder considerable costs due to the consequences of the war in Ukraine. “The draft budget provides for a repayment of more than 800 million (euros) in 2023,” Saleh told the German Press Agency. “But there will not be a repayment of this magnitude, depending on the overall development,” said the SPD politician. “We will not make major adjustments to the budget draft that we are working on together to reflect the situation that arose as a result of the Ukraine war.”
Parliament will of course make the necessary changes to the budget draft presented by the Senate. “But he won’t be able to take into account all of Ukraine’s consequences,” Saleh said. “I believe that there will be even more support from the federal government, that’s what we expect in Berlin, and that’s what we expect as states as far as the question of burdens is concerned,” said the SPD state leader. “But I can say one thing, the more than 800 million euros that were promised for the repayment are being called into question again.”
Because of the Ukraine war, Berlin has incurred costs in the hundreds of millions. “Even if there is support from the federal government, it will also cost the states something,” said Saleh. “I don’t want us to save in the Ukraine situation – you don’t save in the crisis. I don’t want us to start stealing money from other areas such as youth, schools, social affairs, women’s or migration projects.”
Saleh referred to the experiences of the recent past. “We have a blueprint. During the Corona crisis, many said: Now you have to save,” he explained. “I answered: No, we are even taking out additional loans so that we can become even stronger in the aftermath of the crisis.” The SPD politician recommends not cutting the budget. “We have to start thinking big in Berlin so that we don’t end up dwarfing ourselves.”
Finance Senator Daniel Wesener (Greens) said on Sunday that it was not yet foreseeable how the admission of refugees from Ukraine would affect the state budget and these plans. “The federal government has a duty to assume its share of the responsibility.” Berlin, like all other states and municipalities, expects clear commitments here.
“The repayment that the Senate has planned for the end of 2023 in the double budget draft is not an end in itself,” emphasized Wesener. “It is required by law that we start paying back the Corona emergency loans.” The same applies to the economic adjustment according to the debt brake.
“If we can repay further debts, we will also relieve the state budget in 2024/25.” In addition, the draft budget envisages significantly increased expenditure in all areas and a significant increase in investments, even if repayments are made more quickly.
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