Under the restitution plan the nation’s 17 churches, including the Roman Catholic and Protestant sects, would get back 56 percent of their old property now held by the state — estimated to be worth 3 billion Euro. They would also get 2.3 billion Euro over the next 30 years, and the state would gradually stop covering their expenses over the next 17 years.
Critics of the bill claim that it treats churches differently from other recipients of property that was confiscated from them by the former regime. After 1948 not only church, but also citizens were deprived of all real estate, and nowadays numerous essential problems arise with the application of restitution laws towards them. The compensation for property is considered overvalued and the timing of the restitution during a recession is questioned as well.
The divisive legislation will now be returned for a final vote in the lower house. If the government finds enough votes to overturn the veto, the law will lead to an increase in this year's budget deficit of around 1.5 percentage points of GDP.
(Claudia von Selle/ Kristina Matschulskaja)