Scholz Plays Down Reports of Tensions Over Pension-Reform Plans

(Bloomberg) -- German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said a planned reform to the nation’s pensions system will be approved in cabinet this month, pushing back against reports of fresh tensions in the ruling coalition over economic policy.

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Scholz held talks with Finance Minister Christian Lindner and Economy Minister Robert Habeck on Tuesday to discuss both the pension reform and next year’s federal budget, in what some local media billed as a “crisis meeting.”

However, the Social Democrat leader said the talks had long been planned and had also served to thrash out details of a planned package of measures to spur the stagnant economy that the government had been working on “for some time.”

“Apart from that, we have also agreed that the pension package is coming,” Scholz told reporters. “And it will come in May.”

Scholz’s ruling alliance of his Social Democrats, Habeck’s Greens and Lindner’s Free Democrats is aiming to get next year’s budget approved in cabinet in early July before it’s sent to parliament in mid-August.

There are likely to be weeks of inter-party wrangling before an agreement can be reached as Lindner forces spending restraint on his cabinet colleagues.

Scholz played down any tensions over the financing plans, saying it’s important to him “that everyone knows that we are working very well together in this government.”

“And there are, I would like to tell you, many more meetings that we have prepared so that we can make decisions right on time at the beginning of July on the federal budget and also on the dynamizing of our economy,” he added.

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