Bavaria’s coalition reaches agreement in tuition fee dispute

Bavaria's coalition reaches agreement in tuition fee dispute

In return, however, the universities will be fully reimbursed from the budget for the lost revenue, as minister-president horst seehofer (CSU) and FDP state leader sabine leutheusser-schnarrenberger reported on saturday after a top-level meeting lasting several hours in the state chancellery. In addition, there is additional money for early childhood and vocational education, and additional money is being put into debt repayment – 480 million euros more than planned.

But there is still one hurdle: the FDP party conference at the beginning of march must still approve the compromise. Leutheusser-schnarrenberger, however, was very confident that the grassroots will support the compromise.

Last fall, the CSU made a 180-degree turnaround and has since been campaigning vehemently for the abolition of tuition fees as quickly as possible. These are actually stipulated in the coalition agreement with the FDP. The compromise now provides for the vote to be released in the state parliament. This will allow the CSU to vote in parliament, independently of the FDP, for the immediate abolition of the fees, without the threat of breaking the coalition.

Until now, the FDP had rejected a quick abolition in the state parliament – even after a successful referendum against the fees, with which the bavarian people had forced a referendum. But the CSU wants to avoid this with the state parliament resolution.

219 million euros are needed in total in the 2013/14 double budget to reimburse universities for the loss of tuition fees from october onwards and in the coming year. 150 million euros for early childhood education. Among other things, the money is to be used to reduce average kindergarten fees in the second year of kindergarten by 50 percent, or 50 euros, starting in september 2014.

One billion euros to be spent on debt repayment this year – 520 million euros previously planned. This money is to be taken from the state’s reserves, which will be used for the education package from additional tax revenues. Regardless of this, the coalition wants to save 200 million euros in budget execution.

Leutheusser-schnarrenberger said it was now important for the FDP to demonstrate the state government’s ability to act. Seehofer stressed he was very happy with the compromise.

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