Berlin (dpa) – After the wave of criticism of the Hartz IV statements by the designated Minister of Health Jens Spahn (CDU), the call for a comprehensive reform for the long-term unemployed louder. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned: “Our goal must be higher than that people live on Hartz IV or other transfer payments.” In the debate over the work of the panels, Spahn had caused outrage by saying that Hartz IV gave everyone what he needed to live. “Nobody would have to go hungry in Germany if the tables did not exist”. The acting SPD boss Olaf Scholz rejected the statements. Spahn himself reaffirmed his position on Tuesday.
“Of course it is difficult to deal with such a small income as Hartz IV means,” said Spahn on a n-tv talk show. That cover only the basic needs. “I did not question that either.” It is important to note, however, that the social system provides for everyone a roof over their head “and for everyone what is necessary when it comes to food.” Single Hartz IV recipients get 416 euros per month. For couples there are 374 euros per person. This basic security was introduced with the Agenda 2010 of ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (SPD). Unemployed people should be encouraged and demanded. The Eastern Commissioner of the new Federal Government, Christian Hirte, showed understanding for Spahn’s statements. Although he would not have met them this way, but everyone has their own style of politics, said Hirte the rbb. Spahn’s note was “not completely wrong”. “Of course, in a formal sense, a Hartz IV recipient is poor, but Jens Spahn is also right that we try to make sure that Hartz IV does not fall completely through the grid.” Union faction leader Volker Kauder, on the other hand, indirectly criticized the Spahn statements. He referred to CDU General Secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. She said a very correct sentence: “Those who earn on a scale like us should be very cautious when talking about other people’s poverty.”
This Wednesday, Spahn is to be sworn in as the new Minister of Health. SPD General Secretary Lars Klingbeil referred to the coalition agreement. “We have put together a large package against child poverty, we have dealt with the field of old age poverty, which are apparently points that Mr. Spahn has not noticed,” said Klingbeil the German Press Agency. Whether the Hartz IV rule set should be increased, is discussed in the SPD. The head of the CSU in the Bundestag, Alexander Dobrindt, defended Spahn. Hartz IV is a solidarity to secure the livelihoods, the panels are a voluntary offer for the weakest, he said the “Munich Merkur”. “Formulating from this a criticism of the social state and deducing that the social benefits in Germany are too low is unimportant.”
Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned in the “Rheinische Post” that the number of Hartz IV recipients must be reduced. People should be able to live off their income from work. Scholz had said on Monday evening in the ARD “Tagesthemen” about Spahn: “We have different ideas and everyone knows that.” He believes, “Mr. Spahn regrets a little what he said”. Green boss Robert Habeck said on ZDF, the Hartz system must be changed. “The basics of sizing are wrong.” Long-term unemployed people are being subjected to extreme mental pressure to take on a job. “Time has passed over Hartz IV.” The FDP social expert Pascal Kober replied: “Who wants to say goodbye to Habeck from the principle of promoting and demanding, puts people ultimately on a siding.” The CDU labor market politician Kai Whittaker calls on the SPD-led Labor Ministry to quickly launch a major Hartz IV reform. “Hartz IV must no longer be a socio-political impasse, but must give people perspectives,” he told dpa. “For the Union, reducing long-term unemployment is high on the political agenda.” The social association Germany, however, demanded a new calculation of the Hartz rates. “As long as the calculation method is wrong, the everyday life of the Hartz recipients can not be adequately taken into account,” said President Adolf Bauer.