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Scholz expects a concrete model for the gas price brake soon

Updated on 10/04/2022 22:49

  • The federal government wants to protect consumers and companies from high energy prices due to the Ukraine war with a package of measures worth up to 200 billion euros.
  • After the federal-state round, however, there is still no agreement on who will bear the costs.
  • Chancellor Olaf Scholz was optimistic: “We are on a very constructive path”.

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The federal and state governments have not yet reached a consensus on how to share the costs to ease the burden on citizens and companies in light of the high energy prices. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) expects a model for the concrete design of the planned gas price brake soon. After consultations with the federal states, Scholz referred to an expert commission set up by the government on Tuesday. He assumes that there will be results next week, after which the federal government can then act “immediately”, he said. It should be clear to everyone what their relief will look like in concrete terms. “It’s something that needs to be done very well.”

Scholz explained that there were still discussions about how this could be shouldered in detail. “But I have the impression that we are on a very constructive path and that we will also come to an agreement on this task.”

The chairmen of the commission stated that they will work out a “resilient proposal” at a meeting next weekend and present it to politicians.

Gas and electricity prices must be capped

Scholz calculated that the previous relief packages and the special fund now being planned will have a total volume of 295 billion euros. “The federal government will take on and finance almost 240, 250 billion euros of this,” the chancellor said. According to him, the concrete design of the planned electricity and gas price brake is still being discussed.

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The federal government wants to protect consumers and companies from high energy prices due to the Ukraine war with a package of measures worth up to 200 billion euros. Gas and electricity prices must be capped. There must be liquidity and equity support for companies. Details are still open. The aid must be financed by loans. The consultations also included a solution to replace the 9-euro ticket for local and regional transport that expired at the end of August.

Wüst complained about a lack of willingness to compromise

Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia Hendrik Wüst (CDU) sharply criticized the federal government after the talks. “Despite the constructive attitude of the federal states, the federal government showed little willingness to compromise on many important issues today,” Wüst said after the consultations with the chancellor and the prime ministers of the federal states in Berlin on Tuesday.

“We have only made a few steps forward today and we still have a long way to go to reach our goal.” From the point of view of many countries, this is simply not enough. According to Wüst, the countries went to these talks “constructively and with an outstretched hand”.

Woidke: “Important intermediate step”

Brandenburg’s Prime Minister, Dietmar Woidke (SPD) is now campaigning for quick help for citizens and companies. Despite open questions about the distribution of costs for the planned relief, he spoke of an “important intermediate step”. “It is of crucial importance that concrete steps are taken quickly,” Woidke said, according to the announcement.

The agreed electricity and gas price brake will significantly relieve citizens as well as industry and commerce. “It must come quickly.” The federal and state governments have not yet reached a consensus on how to divide the costs to ease the burden on citizens and companies. However, Woidke spoke of the fact that national unity had been created.

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Kretschmann very disappointed

The Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg Winfried Kretschmann expressed great disappointment with the results. “I would have hoped that we would put a button on it, but unfortunately it didn’t happen,” said the Greens politician in the American city of Pittsburgh. The states are too far from the federal government on individual issues.

So you could not agree on the issue of a “cheap ticket” for local transport, Kretschmann said. It makes no sense to introduce a cheap ticket if the federal states have to cancel trains at the same time because they do not receive any so-called regionalization funds from the federal government. Next week it will be clarified whether there will be an agreement. By the end of the month, it should also be clarified how the federal government will contribute to the refugee costs.

Kretschmann said it was agreed that there would be a noticeable reduction in gas prices. Electricity prices would follow suit. There was agreement that companies, institutions and citizens would be noticeably relieved. However, other things could not yet be agreed upon because the design of the gas price brake depends on whether further help is required for, for example, companies or hospitals. This must then be clarified quickly. Kretschmann mentioned money for hospitals, housing benefit and the assumption of refugee costs as central points of conflict.

The Green politician is currently on a delegation trip to the USA and is digitally connected to the federal state group of Pittsburgh in the US state of Pennsylvania. In the past few weeks, he has repeatedly pushed for more money from the federal government – including for local rail transport in the federal states.

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Merz: “Night of Missed Opportunities”

CDU leader Friedrich Merz criticized Chancellor Olaf Scholz after the unsuccessful federal state round of easing the high energy prices. The Union faction leader spoke in the newspapers of the Funke media group (Wednesday) of an “evening of missed opportunities that leaves the citizens restless”.

“The chairman of the Prime Ministers’ Conference, Stephan Weil, and chancellor Olaf Scholz are solely responsible for the fact that there are no results,” Merz added, referring to the two SPD politicians. (dpa/cgo)

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In light of the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis, the EU Commission considers power cuts and other emergencies within the EU to be possible. If a large number of countries were affected at the same time, the EU Commission created strategic reserves.

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