VBefore federal and state consultations on the next relief due to the high energy prices, the dispute over financing continues to grow. Baden-Württemberg’s Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) warned the traffic light coalition on Saturday not to burden the states with a large part of the costs.
“It’s just not possible for the federal government to think that it only has to inform the federal states about its decisions and then present them with the bill.” That won’t work. Other countries insisted on more money from the federal government, for example for local transport and clinics. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) assured quick decisions for the relief.
In order to involve the federal states in the implementation, Scholz will meet with the prime ministers this Wednesday. At the beginning of September, the coalition presented a third package to compensate for the sharply rising prices, estimated at 65 billion euros.
Wüst calls for “fair distribution of the burden”
These include one-off payments for pensioners and students and a price cap for basic electricity requirements. The federal government is also offering money for a follow-up offer of the popular 9-euro ticket for buses and trains in a price range of 49 to 69 euros per month – if the federal states help finance this.
The chairman of the Prime Ministers’ Conference, Hendrik Wüst (CDU) from North Rhine-Westphalia, called for a “fair distribution of the burden” in the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper”. The federal states should still be able to fulfill their responsibilities and ensure that kindergartens and universities continue to run.
In addition to the share of the relief package, there is “a lot of clarification with the federal government”. Wüst mentioned, for example, the further financing of costs for Ukrainian refugees and the clinics. A successor to the 9-euro ticket can only be found if the long-standing question of financing regional transport has been reliably clarified.
Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer also called on the federal government to increase the regionalization funds with which the states order transport services from bus and train providers. “You don’t need to talk about a 9 or 49 euro ticket if this actual question hasn’t been clarified,” the CDU politician told the newspapers of the Funke media group. With regard to the entire relief package, Baden-Württemberg’s Prime Minister Kretschmann emphasized that it is now important that needy households are supported and that the state prevents a wave of insolvencies.
Scholz promises to implement the relief quickly
Scholz assured that the planned relief would be implemented quickly. “The legislative machine has started and will organize the necessary support very, very quickly,” he said in his weekly video message published on Saturday. It is about support for households, families and those who earn little money – but also for companies that have high energy bills and do not know how to keep their business going. With regard to the prices for electricity, heat and gas, the Chancellor reiterated: “They are too high and they have to go down.”
The head of the Verdi union, Frank Werneke, criticized that the previous relief packages were not enough. Now it must be ensured that decisive measures such as an electricity and gas price cap and other direct aid for people with low to middle incomes are implemented immediately.
An alliance of Verdi, the environmental association BUND, the joint general association and the organizations Campact, Attac and the citizens’ movement Finanzwende is calling for demonstrations in several cities on October 22, 2022. The motto is “Solidarity through the crisis – create social security and end fossil dependencies”, as it was said on Saturday.