On November 15, 2023, Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Finance Minister Christian Lindner, and Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck appeared before the Bundestag in Berlin to discuss the government’s response to a recent constitutional court ruling. According to a source close to the finance ministry, the government has stopped spending from the economic stabilisation fund for the year due to the ruling that prohibited the transfer of 60 billion euros in unused funds from the pandemic to green projects.
The budget committee had previously been able to give approval for such spending, but now all spending that has not been used in 2023 is blocked and requires the consent of the finance ministry. Werner Gatzer, state secretary at the finance ministry, stated in a letter on Tuesday that credit authorisations for the economic stabilisation fund can no longer be used in 2023 under current legal circumstances.
The court ruling has implications for payments related to energy price brakes for this year. However, these payments are not affected by the ruling. The economic stabilisation fund was initially created in 2020 to support companies during the pandemic but has since shifted its focus to addressing energy crisis issues. Handelsblatt business daily was first to report on this decision to block spending from ESF on this year.
The government is working diligently to find a solution and address implications of court ruling and blocked spending from ESF for this year. It is important for them to ensure that their actions align with their priorities while respecting legal constraints.