CDU and AfD hand in hand? Dispute over increasing radio license fee


Updated November 30, 2020, 3:44 p.m.

  • Four state parliaments still have to vote on the increase in the license fee for January 1, 2021.
  • It currently looks like only Saxony-Anhalt’s state parliament will vote against the increase.
  • This threatens not only to stop the project, but also to break the government coalition – with consequences far beyond the state.

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It’s about 86 cents. And the question of whether the SPD and the Greens in Saxony-Anhalt will continue to work with the CDU if it gains a majority with the AfD in a central decision.

This decision is about the nationwide Increase in the broadcasting fee from 17.50 euros to 18.36 euros from 1 January 2021. No other CDU regional association opposes it as vehemently as the Christian Democrats in the Magdeburg state parliament. Twelve state parliaments have already voted, each with a yes.

In the decisive vote in the state parliament in mid-December, Saxony-Anhalt is heading for a veto. This would stop the increase in the license fee for the whole of Germany, as unanimity is required on this issue. There is a risk of a funding gap and lawsuits before the Federal Constitutional Court.

Politically, the decision is so explosive because the ruling CDU and the opposition party AfD want to prevent an increase – both parties would have a majority in the state parliament.

Such a step would split the black-red-green coalition twice:

  • On the one hand, the SPD and the Greens support the increase to 18.36 euros.
  • On the other hand, the barely concealed cooperation with the AfD, which is partly right-wing extremist, would break a taboo, all the more with a veto against a state treaty.

That would probably be the end of the coalition, which was shaky from the start, a good six months before the next state elections in the eastern German state.

© dpa

Christian democratic clinking with the AfD

The CDU leadership is alarmed. The Union rejects nationwide cooperation with the AfD. Their Saxony-Anhalt state association is even further to the right than the federal party: Leading heads of both the executive board and the parliamentary group are considered supporters of the officially dissolved “wing”, which is observed by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution as a right-wing extremist movement.

The media policy spokeswoman for the Union parliamentary group, Elisabeth Motschmann, warned the Saxony-Anhalt CDU of the planned maneuver. “You should definitely not do common cause with the AfD,” she told the editorial network Germany.

The state CDU, on the other hand, does not want to see any cooperation on the question of increasing contributions. What can you do if the AfD is pursuing the same goal, they say. “The CDU will not collapse. We will not allow ourselves to be blackmailed on this issue. Nobody,” emphasized Saxony-Anhalt’s CDU General Secretary Sven Schulze in an interview with the Magdeburg “Volksstimme”.

AKK intervenes – without success

According to a “Spiegel” report, party leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer already tried to intervene with CDU Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff – but without any noticeable success.

Like all other country leaders, Haseloff has already voted for the increase. But Saxony-Anhalt’s state parliament must also agree. The CDU parliamentary group will probably neither follow the vote nor the requests of Haseloff. The MPs stand firm.

This threatens to break the black-red-green government alliance. “We assume that Haseloff has a great interest in keeping the coalition alive,” explains SPD country chief Andreas Schmidt. The Prime Minister must “clean up the mess”. Otherwise, according to the Federal Republic of Germany, the SPD threatens a debate that can be compared with the election of FDP politician Thomas Kemmerich in Thuringia with decisive votes from the AfD.

Different interpretations of the coalition agreement

“The accusation that we are not sufficiently different from the AfD is absolutely populist,” said CDU member Markus in a “Tagesspiegel” interview in May. He also pointed out that the AfD fundamentally rejects public broadcasting, the CDU “just doesn’t want it to keep growing”.

But that is not the only counter-argument: From a short perspective, public service broadcasting is not only too big, too expensive and not ready for reform – it is also too left-leaning. An accusation that the AfD is happy to make. Furthermore, Kurz is not just any backbencher. He is the parliamentary manager of the CDU parliamentary group and has chaired the assembly of the Saxony-Anhalt state media authority since 2015.

Last but not least, the CDU there speaks out against increasing the main source of income for ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio because it so im Coalition agreement agreed with the SPD and the Greens has been. Accordingly, all three parties had stipulated that they wanted a “stable contribution” for public broadcasting.

The Christian Democrats understand this as a stagnating contribution; they and Haseloff have long been demanding reforms, more savings and greater consideration of East Germany from the public broadcasters.

The coalition partners also refer to the coalition agreement. This also includes compensation for increased costs, say Saxony-Anhalt’s Greens. An independent commission recommended an increase in the license feeAll 16 prime ministers and most of the state parliaments followed this advice.

Black-red-green government alliance threatens to break up

The CDU must decide “whether it would like to continue the alliance of stability in the political center,” explains the Green State Executive. “Nothing less is at stake in the next few weeks.” The party warns its government partner that Foundation of the coalition as a “bulwark against the right” to destroy if he does common cause with the AfD. The SPD sends similar signals.

In view of the tense mood, the coalition committee now wants to meet on Tuesday. A day later it becomes clear whether Haseloff can change his own party or the SPD and the Greens: Then he gives Media Committee in the State Parliament made its recommendationhow Parliament should vote. CDU and AfD could prevail with a majority – and would thus cause a stir far beyond Saxony-Anhalt’s borders.

With material from dpa and AFP.

The increase in the license fee, which has already been decided by the federal states, is suddenly causing explosions in the grand coalition. In view of the corona crisis, the union of the CDU and CSU is in favor of suspending the increase. The AfD also wants that. The SPD warns the Union against such an alliance. (Teaser picture: Marius Bulling / picture alliance / Ostalb Network)

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