Secrets of the Black Book. What is the money spent on in Germany

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Germany is the world champion in the field of taxation and social contributions to the treasury: no other country in the world receives so much money in the budget. But, as it turns out, part of these funds is spent on outright nonsense.

After the forced lull in the pandemic, the German economy is back to normal, and financiers are reporting record tax revenues in 2021. However, the Independent Union of German Taxpayers (Bund der Taxpayer, BdSt) evaluates this very ambiguously.

Last year, the German budget received a total of 740 billion euros. This is expected to exceed 770 billion. Most of these funds go to the purpose: for social needs, construction of schools, roads, police maintenance and so on. But at the same time, according to BdSt, significant amounts are wasted, spent ill-considered, inefficiently and pointlessly.

The German Taxpayers’ Union is an independent and very authoritative organization that has repeatedly forced politicians to make adjustments to budget plans, publicly apologize and even resign. Every year the Union of Taxpayers publishes the so-called “Black Book” – its cover is really black. It cites particularly striking examples of the squandering of people’s money in Germany.

Now the next, already the 49th “Black Book” has been published. Among the hundred specific cases, for example, the new pedestrian bridge in the town of Esloe Sauerland. It was built next to the old bridge, which was used by both cars and pedestrians. Built to make the latter more convenient: the old sidewalk, they say, is too narrow. “Won” as a result of only 25 centimeters. And it cost 95 thousand euros.

There are many bridges in the Black Book. So, near the city of Euskirchen there is a monument of absurdist architecture for more than forty years – a car overpass over the existing highway. Unlike the autobahn, this overpass does not lead anywhere and does not go anywhere. It was once planned to build another autobahn here, crossing the former one, but then they changed their minds due to environmental considerations. And while there were disputes about the autobahn, the overpass for him – according to plan – continued to build. And so it stands on its own. The cost is about 230 thousand euros. I wonder how much will be spent on demolishing it, because over time it collapses.

German Chancellor’s Office building on the banks of the River Spree in Berlin

To the Soviet slogan “Plan is the law!” proved to be true in Lubeck. The local football club Lübeck reached the third German league last season. The stadium did not meet her requirements, and as an exception, the club received permission from the football federation to play on it for only one season. Then they decided to rebuild the stadium. The plans are grand: lawn heating, new stands, reserve training center … However, the team immediately dropped out of the third, professional league. She plays again in the fourth, amateur. “Lubeck” is so engrossed in debt that it is a question of possible bankruptcy. But despite this, the stadium was still rebuilt, spending one and a half million euros from the budget.

Not only local authorities are wasting taxpayers’ money. A great example is the Office of the Federal Chancellor in Berlin. The building in which it is located was built in 2001. It cost 262 million euros. Useful area – more than 25 thousand square meters. m. This is a grand structure, which, incidentally, the mocking Berliners called “a giant washing machine.” It is bigger than the White House in Washington or the Elysee Palace in Paris.

But now they have decided to double its area by adding another complex. It is expected to spend another 600 million euros. Why is this necessary? The number of employees in the department has increased by 340 over the past twenty years, and there is not enough space for everyone. But we are not talking about the reduction of the bureaucracy, on the contrary – it is supposed to provide employees with all possible conveniences.

600 million is not the limit. The project calls for a special road to the new Chancellor’s Office, but local authorities – the municipality of Berlin’s central district – oppose it. So, probably, we will have to dig a tunnel: another 40 million euros.

The “Black Book” of the Union of German Taxpayers also talks about Russia. Earlier this year, the authorities of the East German federal state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the only ones in Germany, decided to buy a million doses of the Russian Sputnik vaccine, despite the fact that this vaccine is not licensed in the European Union. Negotiations were entrusted to a law firm. But this idea was soon abandoned: there were more than enough other vaccines tested and recommended in the EU in Germany, and Sputnik has not yet received approval from the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Nevertheless, the negotiators were given at least 20,000 euros. Trifles? But these budget funds could have gone to more useful purposes, say the authors of the “Black Book”. However, many Russian “masters” of budgets of different levels, probably, would only laugh at their “pettiness”.

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