• Germany's news in English
 

Bavaria, Hesse challenge aid to poorer states

Published: 05 Feb 2013 16:22 GMT+01:00

The long-awaited decision to actually take their case to the top court came after the premiers of the two states held consultations in the Hessian state capital Wiesbaden.

Volker Bouffier and Horst Seehofer, the conservative leaders of Hesse and Bavaria respectively, no longer want to prop up the weakest of Germany's 16 federal states via the fund designed to smooth out wealth disparities.

"The time for a lawsuit has come," said Bouffier, calling it an "act of political self-defence."

Currently three states, Baden-Württemberg, Hesse and Bavaria, pay billions of euros each year into the so-called Länderfinanzausgleich. The two leaders have complained the system penalizes richer states for their good economic performance, while poorer states profit from their hard work.

New figures released last month showed Hesse had paid over €38 billion into the pot since 1990, while Bavaria forked over some €36 billion, and Baden-Württemberg handed over €35 billion. The wealthy city-state of Hamburg ponied up €5.2 billion.

With €45 billion from the Länderfinanzausgleich since 1990, the dirt poor city-state of Berlin has received the most. The eastern German state of Saxony came in second after getting €17 billion from the pot, and Saxony-Anhalt received €10 billion. The northern state of Schleswig-Holstein profited the least, receiving €2.4 billion.

Seehofer on Tuesday said the scheme "lacked solidarity, was unfair, and stifled achievement."

"We in Bavaria have reached a pain threshold for Länderfinanzausgleich," he said.

But perhaps tellingly, the centre-left state government in Baden-Württemberg has refused to join the constitution challenge.

Critics have noted that both Bouffier and Seehofer face re-election this autumn, and that the court case could be a way to pander to the voters in their respective states.

And other states have pointed out that once-poor Bavaria received payments from the pot for decades.

"I really have no understanding for calling the current rules into question," said Stanislaw Tillich, the conservative premier of Saxony.

DPA/DAPD/The Local/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

17:40 February 5, 2013 by DoubleDTown
while they are at it, how about challenging the transfer of money from richer people to poorer people?

They do realize the point of a federal republic instead of many individual feudal states is the whole "out of many, one" concept?
18:06 February 5, 2013 by Berlin fuer alles
Explains the German logic applied towards the European Union and the Euro. They only challenge when they have to pay into it but keep their mouths shut about all the benefits they derive from it.
21:44 February 5, 2013 by IchBinKönig
'but keep their mouths shut about all the benefits they derive from it. '

Yes, because Bavaria would NEVER try and secede due to the cheap wonderful benefits.
22:47 February 5, 2013 by pepsionice
When Belgium does finally split apart.....probably by 2014....the discussion of Bavaria exiting Germany will eventually come back around. It might take ten years, but we might want to settle back and watch how this all develops.
18:09 February 6, 2013 by Bigfoot76
"Critics have noted that both Bouffier and Seehofer face re-election this autumn, and that the court case could be a way to pander to the voters in their respective states."

Terrible. I have NEVER heard of a politician doing such a thing before. It is not like every single one of them do whatever they have to in order to sucker voters into choosing them.

Berlin, 45 million since 1990. Did they not just waste almost that much on an Airport that still has no plan, direction, expectation or idea when it will actually open or how over budget it will be? They do not even know what needs to be finished yet nor who will be in charge from one week to the next.

Then reciting another story in our beloved thelocal.de, Berliners want to criticize people from other states for practicing their customs in Berlin. If we are paying for your existence, I think we should be allowed to drink the type of beer we want, when we want and for the reason we want as long as it hurts no one and I absolutely will wear Lederhosen while doing it as well.

I sound mad huh? lol
Today's headlines
Germany's AfD heads right with new leader
Frauke Petry, the new leader of the AfD. Photo: Lukas Schulze/picture alliance/dpa

Germany's AfD heads right with new leader

Germany's Alternative for Germany (AfD) party ousted its co-founder and frontman Bernd Lucke on Saturday to elect a new leader from its right wing, signalling a shift in focus to immigration from its anti-euro origins. READ  

Extreme heat causes Autobahn to rupture
A fissure on the Autobahn near Heidelberg. Photo: DPA

Extreme heat causes Autobahn to rupture

The heatwave sweeping across the country may have Germans flocking to the sea this weekend, but the extreme temperatures are also causing Autobahns to break apart. READ  

Nazi island resort to be turned into luxury flats
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Nazi island resort to be turned into luxury flats

A vast Nazi mega-complex meant as holiday homes for German workers and later used by the Soviets as a Cold War barracks is about to be turned into luxury flats. READ  

Greece crisis
'Bundestag must vote on new bailout': Schäuble
A poster of German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble in Athens reads "For five years he has sucked your blood. Now tell him NO." Photo: DPA

'Bundestag must vote on new bailout': Schäuble

UPDATE: Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said on Friday that there would be no quick release of bailout funds to Greece after the country's referendum on whether to accept its creditors' terms on Sunday. READ  

Activists give Dalai Lama 80th birthday stamp
The new Deutsche Post stamp showing the Dalai Lama. Photo: DPA

Activists give Dalai Lama 80th birthday stamp

Pro-Tibet activists have created a new limited-edition stamp featuring the Dalai Lama to mark the Tibetan spiritual leader's 80th birthday. READ  

Women's World Cup
'Germany will crack England': top coach
Star striker Celia Sasic. Photo: DPA

'Germany will crack England': top coach

The manager of European champions FFC Frankfurt told The Local he expects Germany to beat England in the third place play-off in the Women's World Cup, and predicted his protege Celia Sasic will grab a goal or two. READ  

NSA surveillance scandal
Calls grow for govt to act on NSA spying
Chancellor Angela Merkel, the highest-profile German victim of NSA spying, speaking on the phone. Photo: DPA

Calls grow for govt to act on NSA spying

Green Party security expert Konstantin von Notz told The Local on Friday that Chancellor Angela Merkel is failing to restore faith in the German-US partnership following fresh spying revelations. READ  

Germany reach semis of beach volleyball worlds
Ilka Semmler and Katrin Holtwick. Photo: DPA file

Germany reach semis of beach volleyball worlds

Germany's top beach volleyball pair are storming the world championships in Holland and prepare to face Brazil in the semis on Friday. READ  

Environment minister blasts Merkel, colleagues
Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks. Photo: DPA

Environment minister blasts Merkel, colleagues

Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks loosed a broadside against her cabinet colleagues on Friday in a guest article for Die Welt, saying that they had decided to do too little to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in a way that would cost too much. READ  

Greece crisis
BILD polls readers in own 'Greece referendum'
Image: BILD/screenshot

BILD polls readers in own 'Greece referendum'

Tabloid Bild continued its campaign against bailouts for Greece on Friday by calling its own "referendum", asking readers to fill out a poll on whether Germany should keep stumping up. German politicians were divided on how the Greek vote would affect Europe. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Police seize pensioner's WW2 heavy weapons haul
National
How to survive the Europe-wide heatwave
Sport
Is Schweini already out of the door at Bayern?
Politics
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
National
Car assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
Rhineland
Weathermen red-faced over heatwave snow warning
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
Politics
What's really in the Queen's handbag?
National
Germans say USA doesn't respect freedom
National
Yes, you CAN buy adult e-books before 10pm in Germany
VIDEO: Watch a 93-metre turbine crash to earth in slow motion
Gallery
Who's got a shot at the German Film Awards
Rhineland
Anger over 'child-free' beer garden
National
How do you do, Majestät?
National
Man defends right to pee in public with tear gas
Features
The Germans who won Waterloo for the British
Frankfurt
Should Germany ban circus animals?
Hamburg
Where people are having the most sex in Germany
Culture
Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Not this student...
National
Dresden's three-decade-long red light
Politics
Upper house calls for gay marriage now
Berlin
Berlin named 3rd-best city worldwide
Sport
In search of the toughest firefighter
Business & Money
German firms shine for European engineering students
Gallery
Hitler's paintings up for auction
National
German's 70-year search for murdered US pilot
Politics
What the G7 leaders agreed at Elmau
Business & Money
What really makes Germans happy
National
Playmobil builder leaves worldwide legacy
National
The car share that became a drug run
Politics
What Snowden revealed to Germany
Rhineland
Why wolf cubs are being raised by hand
National
Hitler's booze cave found
National
Environment makes Germany worth living in
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,940
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd