Childcare allowance once again throws coalition into a tailspin

Childcare allowance once again throws coalition into a tailspin

Following the FDP’s rejection of a compromise previously negotiated internally between the CDU and the CSU, the government’s proposal for the 18. October vote in the bundestag initially scrapped.

At the meetings of the coalition factions on tuesday, there was an effort not to speak openly of a crisis. The CDU, CSU and FDP are not on the verge of a break in the coalition, they affirmed. Within the FDP, calls for countervailing benefits have been voiced.

For CSU leader horst seehofer, chances of agreement are uncertain. "I can’t tell you how this will turn out," he said in munich. "What is needed now is a high degree of patience and strong nerves."The childcare allowance is essential for the CSU. Whether a non-agreement – as he had threatened earlier – could lead to the breakup of the black-yellow coalition, he left open. "It would be very small-minded to draw such conclusions at this point in time."

FDP leader philipp rosler and FDP parliamentary group leader rainer bruderle do not expect the coalition to break up over the dispute. "I do not see the coalition in any danger," said bruderle. It is perfectly legitimate for each partner to have issues that are particularly close to his or her heart. Rosler told the "passauer neue presse": "it is normal to have different opinions." Now further talks had to be held.

The parliamentary manager of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, michael grosse-bromer (CDU), also said: "i don’t think the coalition will fail because of that."The care allowance will not be overturned. There will be a second and third reading in parliament. "I just don’t know when yet. (…) we don’t even know who is supposed to talk to whom – in case of doubt, even the budget politicians".

According to the coalition’s plans, parents who do not take advantage of a publicly required daycare program for their children in their second and third years are to receive a childcare allowance. From 2013 initially 100 euros, from 2014 then 150 euros per month.

To allay concerns in the CDU, the CSU agreed to make the payment of the money conditional on participation in preventive medical examinations for children. Mothers should also receive an additional financial incentive for a private pension plan. This compromise between the two sister parties was rejected by the FDP presidium on monday.

At the same time, the FDP openly called for countermeasures. The FDP is still not a friend of the childcare allowance, party vice chairman holger zastrow told deutschlandfunk radio. That is why "several things have to be discussed". This could be about abolishing the practice fee or lowering the solidarity surcharge.

CSU secretary general alexander dobrindt warned the FDP against sham fights and demands for counter-performance. "To now put on the full brakes the way she did with partly flimsy reasons, that’s really not a good style," said dobrindt in berlin.

The opposition sees the dispute as an indication that the end of the coalition is near. "One year before the federal election, the merkel hammering is unpredictable," said grunen faction leader jurgen trittin. His colleague renate kunast told the dpa: "this is taking on the character of a soap opera." CSU leader seehofer should now make good on his threat of a coalition breakup.

SPD vice president manuela schwesig said: "this coalition is no longer getting anything done except bickering and quarreling."The coalition should finally bury the "screwed-up project and invest the planned 1.2 billion euros in the urgently needed kita expansion instead". Left-wing caucus leader gregor gysi said: "now we’re experiencing the 77. Act of the never-ending story about the black-yellow coalition’s most senseless project."The debate is degenerating into a bazaar trade.