Whether a debt brake, a 365-euro annual ticket or winter housing benefit – there are a few suggestions for relief. But there is disagreement on almost every point.
SPD leader Saskia Esken has spoken out in favor of not applying the debt brake requirements in the coming year either. In view of the current crises, the federal government must be able to “organize long-term relief” when planning the budget, she justified her demand on ZDF on Sunday. Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) said he expected new relief for the coming year. CSU boss Markus Söder presented concrete proposals, such as an extension of the tank discount and a follow-up regulation for the nine-euro ticket.
With its demand for a renewed suspension of the debt brake, Esken positioned itself against the coalition partner FDP, which insists on a return to the debt brake for the coming year – and also refers to the coalition agreement. However, Esken referred to the financial uncertainties as a result of the current crises: “I think we have to suspend the debt brake again.”
Vice-Chancellor Habeck envisaged further relief for the coming year. “Even high earners swallow when they suddenly have to pay 4,500 euros a year for heating instead of 1,500,” Habeck told the RND newspapers. For people with little money, these sums are not representable. Habeck sees Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) as responsible for the relief: “I am sure that the Ministry of Finance will make provision for this.”
Debt brake not the only point of contention
Bavaria’s Prime Minister Söder (CSU) proposed in the “Bild am Sonntag” a 365-euro annual ticket for all local public transport throughout Germany. This should tie in with the popular nine-euro ticket. Söder named further relief measures. “The tank discount must be extended throughout the winter,” he said. “If a winter housing benefit were added for all households, including pensioners, that would help most people noticeably.” In addition, citizens should be relieved of state fees, said the CSU boss.
The CSU leader received applause from Left Party leader Dietmar Bartsch. “It’s a good thing that in Bavaria, too, the realization has grown that there must be a third effective relief package that really compensates for the additional costs for the citizens,” Bartsch told the Funke newspapers on Monday.
SPD General Secretary Kevin Kühnert, on the other hand, reacted irritably to Söder’s proposals. “Demanding massive tax cuts, wildly throwing around relief proposals and at the same time wanting to stay in the black, that doesn’t go together front and back,” said Kühnert to the Funke newspapers on Monday. Söder’s behavior is “fire dangerous” because he gives the impression that the government is not taking any precautions for the coming winter. The President of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), Marcel Fratzscher, also criticized Söder’s proposals. These are “counterproductive, antisocial, ecologically harmful and extremely expensive,” Fratzscher told the “Handelsblatt”. “They would mean a redistribution from bottom to top, from poor to rich.”
Speed limit causes controversy
Meanwhile, Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) warned of radical protests as a result of high energy prices. “Of course there is a risk that those who already roared out their contempt for democracy during the Corona period and were often traveling side by side with right-wing extremists will try to misuse the sharply rising prices as a new mobilization topic,” she told the “Handelsblatt”. .
In view of the impending gas crisis, the CDU is now also discussing a speed limit on motorways as a way of saving energy. CDU Vice Andreas Jung (CDU) told the “Bild” newspaper that “without prohibitions on thinking” everything must now be “in the pot that will help us over the winter and save CO2: energy saving pact, nuclear energy, biomass ramp-up and temporary speed limit”. .
The FDP maintained its opposition to a speed limit at the weekend. “A speed limit has no relevant saving effect on gas, so this discussion distracts from the actual problem,” said FDP Vice Wolfgang Kubicki to the Funke newspapers.