The planned increase in broadcasting fees from EUR 17.50 to EUR 18.36 has cleared an important hurdle. The Prime Ministers signed the State Treaty on Broadcasting Subsidies and thus cleared the way for the necessary votes in all state parliaments to be raised on Wednesday. The broadcasting contribution would increase for the first time since 2009.
The amount can only be changed if all country heads and all country parliaments vote unanimously. The whole thing could then take effect in January 2021. The state parliament of Saxony-Anhalt is, however, currently a wobbly candidate, there is headwind from the factions of the CDU, Linke and AfD and thus from the majority of the factions. In the end, it could decide whether the increase actually comes.
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In March, the Prime Ministers decided that the monthly contribution per household should increase by 86 cents to EUR 18.36. At that time, Saxony-Anhalt was the only federal state to abstain. Saxony-Anhalt has now signed Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff (CDU), who is leading a coalition of CDU, SPD and Greens in Magdeburg.
With regard to the state parliaments, Haseloff emphasized: “There will be a broad discussion here and ultimately the decision on the media change state treaty. I currently see no majority in the Saxony-Anhalt state parliament for this treaty and thus for a premium increase.” He also pointed this out at the Prime Ministers’ Conference.
The Rhineland-Palatinate Prime Minister Malu Dreyer (SPD) said about the signing, 86 cents more is a moderate adjustment. Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (CDU) also spoke of a “very moderate increase”. This was only successful because they had moved towards each other. He also appealed to the future: “The institutions have to work more with each other.” Kretschmer and Dreyer also suggested that the contribution period – which has been four years so far – could be extended in the future. Due to the shortness of the range, there is a lot of talk about the contribution, Dreyer said.
ARD chairman Tom Buhrow said that even after adjusting the radio contribution by 86 cents, “as ARD we will not lose sight of our reforms and will continue to adhere to them strictly”.
The radio broadcast is the main source of income for ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio. The prime ministers based their decision on a recommendation from the Commission to determine the financial needs of broadcasters – KEF for short. At the end of February, the panel of experts proposed increasing the premium to EUR 18.36. The calculations result from the financial requirements that the broadcasters had previously registered.
The experts assumed that there would be a financial gap of 1.5 billion euros in the next subscription period from 2021 to 2024 – the increase in broadcasting fees should compensate for this. The broadcasters had registered double the uncovered financial requirements. However, the Commission cut back on its calculations.
The chairman of the German Association of Journalists (DJV), Frank Überall, emphasized that the increase in the broadcasting fee is indispensable for public service broadcasting. At the same time, he said: “With the agreed 86 cents more, the inventory is just being secured. The” inventory “already means the reduction and even elimination of programs and journalistic offers because of the continued pressure to save.”