Special meeting on coalition dispute over higher broadcasting fees
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Can the CDU in Saxony-Anhalt, together with the AfD, prevent the nationwide increase in the broadcasting fee, and can the SPD and the Greens continue to govern with the CDU? These questions are a constant controversy – and the decisive votes are getting closer.
IIn the dispute over the upcoming votes on a higher radio license fee in Germany, Saxony-Anhalt’s Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff (CDU) invited the coalition to a special meeting. He invited the top representatives of the CDU, SPD and Greens on Sunday to a coalition committee for Tuesday, according to information from the German Press Agency.
The only topic is likely to be the tricky situation before the important votes on an interstate treaty, including an increase in contributions. Saxony-Anhalt could be the only federal state to vote against the adjustment of the broadcasting fee by 86 cents to 18.36 euros per month from January 2021.
The black-red-green coalition has not yet been able to agree on a uniform vote. If that does not change, not only is the nationwide increase in the broadcasting fee in danger, but also the continued existence of the state government. The media committee will position itself on Wednesday, the final vote in parliament is due in mid-December. The SPD and the Greens want to support the increase planned for January 1st. The CDU rejects the project and argues with the lack of willingness to reform on the part of public law.
The new contribution was determined by an independent commission and signed off by the Prime Ministers. For it to come, however, all 16 state parliaments have to agree, and most of them have already done so. Saxony-Anhalt is considered the only wobbly candidate.
The opposition AfD is also against the premium increase. The CDU and AfD together have a majority in the media committee and in parliament. Separate votes are not provided for in the coalition. It is agreed to abstain in cases of disagreement. According to the three coalition parties, that is not an option in this case. In this case, the state treaty would be stopped with the votes of the AfD alone because it has more votes than the second opposition party, the Left, which wants to agree.
Prime Minister Haseloff had announced that he wanted to get a unanimous vote from the coalition. The conflict is a constant issue among government partners, and the threatened veto by the CDU and AfD is causing excitement and criticism nationwide.
The media policy spokeswoman for the Union parliamentary group, Elisabeth Motschmann (CDU), 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 (RND / Monday).
While the top leaders of the SPD and the Greens have not held back with comments, warnings and criticism, the CDU federal party has so far lacked a public position. SPD General Secretary Lars Klingbeil criticized this again.
“The CDU is playing with fire again and a few months after the shame of Thuringia is now preparing the next cooperation with the AfD in Saxony-Anhalt,” he told the “Tagesspiegel” (Monday). “The fact that the federal government is silent on this is not a good sign.”
There are a number of worst-case scenarios for an end to the coalition just a few months before the state elections. According to reports, they range from a withdrawal of the SPD and Greens ministers from the cabinet and a CDU minority government to a withdrawal of Prime Minister Haseloff to the premature dissolution of the state parliament and early elections. A new state parliament would be elected on June 6, 2021.
The Greens made it clear at a party congress on Friday that they see no basis for further government cooperation if the CDU votes with the AfD and against the coalition partners. The SPD sends similar signals.
Both want to prevent this situation with further discussions and suggestions. The CDU parliamentary group sees the criticism as a threat and blackmail and wants to stick to its vote. She will meet on Tuesday morning for further deliberations. There are also parliamentary group meetings in the SPD and the Greens.