High prices and an impending gas shortage: Germany is sliding from one crisis to the next. But there was no plan for “Anne Will” on Sunday, especially for the financially weak.
First Corona, then the Ukraine war and now the threatening gas shortage in winter: Germany is currently going through several crises that nobody would have thought possible a while ago. But not everyone is hit equally hard: as studies show, it is the financially weaker people who suffer the most from the economic consequences. “Will people soon have to choose between eating less or getting cold?” asks Anne Will.
The following guests will discuss this with her on Sunday:
It will not be an easy evening for the politicians present in this Sunday talk, which is evident right at the beginning of the show. The Green member of the Bundestag, Ricarda Lang, in particular, quickly finds it difficult to explain. Because although the traffic light coalition only recently reacted to the crises with two relief packages, these are criticized as being vague and not sustainable.
Green politician admits: relief packages are not enough
“It’s true, that won’t be enough for autumn and winter,” admits Lang, choosing the defensive path. You have to learn from these packages and take the time to develop targeted measures. To begin with, like her Green colleague, Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lenke, she calls for protection against electricity and gas cutoffs. But Will doesn’t want to be fobbed off: “If you already know that, what are you waiting for?”
Ex-Federal Minister of Health and Groko member Jens Spahn also sees an opportunity to voice his criticism of the current government. After every public proposal, a traffic light politician reports and explains why it cannot be implemented, the CDU politician complains. “The change in strategy must be part of the strategy,” said Spahn. “But first you have to know where you want to go.”
And the ex-health minister has other points of criticism: the relief packages do not offer any real solutions or concentrated actions, and independence from Russian gas is not yet finally planned. To make matters worse, the Bundestag is now also in the summer break. “So nothing will be decided before autumn,” sums up Spahn. In view of the urgency of the crises, this is actually not a particularly reassuring outlook.
“If there is a gas shortage, private households are protected”
Because in autumn, when it gets colder again in Germany, the next serious problem could arise: an impending lack of gas and a freezing population. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently shut down the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline for maintenance work. It is scheduled to start up again on Thursday. And what if not? Germany’s gas storage facilities are currently 65 percent full.
“There is too much uncertainty,” concludes economist Marcel Fratzscher. Neither industry nor private households would know whether they would have gas available this winter, explains the President of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW). It will not have helped much that the Green Economics Minister Robert Habeck last week also questioned the priority of private households in gas distribution.
After all, Green politician Lang can calm things down: “Should there be a gas shortage, private households and schools are protected,” assures Habeck. This is guaranteed under European law. However, the population is not completely safe either: After all, even if industry is shut down, it may ultimately mean lost jobs, a lack of wages or even a lack of food if production has to be stopped.
Talk by Anne Will: Good suggestions, little implementation
It may be due to the diverse composition of the talk group that concrete proposals for crisis prevention are repeatedly made during the program. DIW boss Fratzscher, for example, states that there is both an income problem and a pension problem in Germany.
The crisis is now also affecting the middle class, according to the economist’s dramatic assessment, about a third of the population has no savings and no protective mechanism. He calls for permanently higher social benefits and wages. Rainer Dulger, head of the employers’ association, finds that wage policy alone is not sufficient and calls for tax cuts and tax relief.
In the end, neither Spahn nor Lang have good news: “We won’t be able to make all Germans act as if this crisis didn’t exist,” says the CDU politician. And the Green Federal President also admits: “We will not be able to catch everyone.”
A sobering result – especially considering that Green politician Lang had just called for “everyone to stick together” in the crisis. In the crisis, the poorest are encouraged to work for the collective. In the end, however, it is they themselves who may be left behind. Kind of unfair.
You can see the complete “Anne Will” program in the ARD media library.