Dhe state of North Rhine-Westphalia will invest a total of 14.4 billion euros to combat the energy crisis resulting from the Russian attack on Ukraine and the “attacks on freedom and democracy in the West”. Since the latest round of prime ministers with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) now has clarity about the distribution of burdens between the federal and state governments, it is possible to get additional state aid underway, said Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst (CDU) on Friday in the state parliament.
According to Wüst, North Rhine-Westphalia is already contributing a total of 3.43 billion euros to the federal government’s relief packages I, II and III for the year. In addition, there are now two state-owned “security screens”. As part of the first, the NRW-Bank can grant the municipalities involved in the public utilities liquidity loans up to a total of five billion euros. The university clinics, which are also suffering from the enormously sharp increase in energy prices, are to be secured with 2.5 billion euros.
According to Wüst, North Rhine-Westphalia wants to achieve a three-pillar model with a further 3.5 billion euros that are left over from the Corona aid fund totaling 20 billion euros. The first pillar called “crisis assistance” is intended to ensure that gaps that remain despite the gas and electricity price brake can be closed. “I’m thinking about facilities for our children and the sports clubs in our country,” said Wüst.
Ensure emergency operation by authorities in the event of power failures
The second pillar, “crisis resilience”, is intended to help state institutions “better prepare for all eventualities,” said Wüst, without going into detail. According to reports, it should be about ensuring the emergency operation of authorities, for example in the event of power failures. According to Wüst, the third pillar, “preparation for crises”, is “particularly about greater independence in terms of energy policy”. According to reports, the money provided is to be used primarily to promote the expansion of renewable energies and decarbonization.
With the total of “mobilized” 14.4 billion euros, the black-green state government is “reaching the pain threshold,” said Wüst without finally explaining where the funds come from. On the one hand, the general reserve of the budget is being used in full, on the other hand, the country is also using credit authorizations that have already been used, said the Prime Minister with a view to the 3.5 billion from the Corona rescue package. For black and green, this has the advantage that this sum does not appear as new debt in the core budget. According to reports, a significant part of the aid money still has to be raised through so-called global underspending across all ministries.
Wüst said that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s calculations were to weaken “our economy” in order to undermine solidarity with Ukraine. Putin also targeted mass expulsions, North Rhine-Westphalia alone has already taken in around a quarter of a million people. “Putin’s goal is to destabilize Europe, to throw it off balance, to shatter the cohesion of our free societies,” said Wüst. “We will not allow that.”