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Childcare subsidies cause party rift

The Local · 2 Jun 2012, 14:06

Published: 02 Jun 2012 14:06 GMT+02:00

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The Christian Social Union (CSU), Bavarian sister party to Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, and its leader Horst Seehofer have led the campaign to pay parents a state allowance to stay home with their young children.

But on Friday Peter Ramsauer, the party’s number two and Germany’s transport minister, expressed misgivings about the idea.

He later took back his criticism after it was clarified that the parent payment would not affect any housing subsidies.

Seehofer, who also heads the state of Bavaria, was clearly not amused.

“It’s not a good idea for a CSU minister and deputy party chairman to register reservations for a piece of legislation that is so significant to the CSU,” he told the Passauer Neue Presse on Saturday.

Seehofer said the bill, which is supposed to be voted on at a cabinet meeting this Wednesday, has now been finalized.

He also said there should not be a discussion about it when he meets Merkel and Philipp Rösler, head of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) on Monday. The CDU, CSU and FDP make up Germany's governing coalition.

“I don’t see any need to talk about the plan,” Seehofer told the newspaper.

Not everyone in the party agrees. CSU politician Stefan Müller said the coalition’s future will not be decided during next year’s elections, but this year and Monday’s meeting is very important.

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“On Monday all the open questions will be discussed and solutions will be talked about,” he said. He expects the childcare subsidy to be a key topic of conversation as well as a controversial Ramsauer idea to impose new road tolls.

The FDP and many CDU members are opposed to the child care subsidy. Many critics say it’s a waste of money that would be better spent expanding child care facilities, which are in desperately short supply in some parts of the country.

DPA/The Local/mw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

00:43 June 3, 2012 by coffmap8
This should not go away. If they had this in America what a blessing it would be! It is hell to put a six week old baby in someone elses arms who does not care!
12:30 June 3, 2012 by Aburgboy
I agree with you coffmanp8, on the part of letting someone else take care of your child. I don't agree however, that single taxpayers should be dishing out more of their salary to help me stay at home with my kids. Having children should be a conscious decision made only if you know you are able to handle it in all aspects, especially financially.

There are plenty of people abusing the system already, this will just add to the irresponsibility traits of many and put the weight on the responsible few.

Is it really that hard to save for a few years until you and your partner are sure that all the bills will be paid and everything will run smoothly for the first year or two of the child's life?
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