After the agreement of representatives of federal authorities and federal units, the details of the aid package for citizens and the economy are announced.
As the public television service ARD reports, a “brake” has been placed in the mechanism for the formation of gas and electricity prices for consumers, a monthly ticket will cost 49 euros and more will be invested in housing refugees, reports Deutsche Welle.
It is planned that the price of gas will be “locked” at the beginning of March 2023. For 80 percent of gas consumption compared to last year, the price will be fixed – 12 cents per kilowatt-hour, and 9.5 cents for heating. The unit of measurement is the projection of spending for one year based on spending in September 2022. The federal authorities have apparently responded to criticism of the provinces, for which the start of this “rein” planned for March comes too late, so the Agreement says it will efforts should be made for the measures to apply from the beginning of February.
A special gas price will apply to large industrial plants from January. From 2021, the state will subsidize the price of 70 percent of consumption for the 25,000 largest industrial gas consumers.
Electricity subsidies from January 2023
Electricity subsidies should be valid from January. Households and smaller businesses will have a gross price of 40 cents per kilowatt-hour, which applies to 80 percent of current consumption. 13 cents as a guaranteed net price per kilowatt hour is also planned for industrial facilities and the subsidized amount will not exceed 70% of consumption in 2021.
The money for these measures will be taken from the Economic Stabilization Fund, for which 200 billion euros have been allocated. It is planned to create a special fund for small and medium-sized companies and citizens who will not be sufficiently relieved by these measures. From hospitals, through cultural institutions to companies from the care sector for the elderly, a large number of institutions will be included in this fund, but there will also be money from it for apartments and houses owned by citizens where the purchase of products energy leads to “too much burden”.
Subsidized monthly ticket From January 1
From January 1, the popular monthly ticket of 9 euros will be followed by a subsidized ticket of 49 euros. The federal state assumes costs in the amount of 1.5 billion euros.
The number of people who will have the right to subsidize the monthly rent will triple from January 1. In the future, subsidies will be applied to two million households and the total amount of subsidies will increase from 1.4 billion to 5.1 billion euros. Although the provinces have asked the federal government to take over most of the subsidies, the agreement says the provinces and the state will pay half of them, as before.
Increase aid for refugee housing
About a million Ukrainian citizens fled to Germany, and the number of political asylum seekers from other countries is also increasing. Municipal and provincial resources are running out. The state will allocate an additional one and a half billion euros for refugees from Ukraine and the same amount will be allocated for the next year, while 1.25 billion will be allocated for refugees from all other countries.
The opposition and municipalities criticize the measures
As the subsidized gas price will be implemented from March and then paid in February, the Christian Democratic opposition claims that the measures were adopted too late. The representative of the Christian Democratic group in the Bundestag, Torsten Frey, said that citizens will pay for the “reluctance of the government” with a “huge loss of welfare” and that many companies will be “threatened by bankruptcy”.
On the other hand, representatives of the governing coalition defend the package of measures, claiming that based on them they will get through the winter well. Saskia Esken, head of Germany’s Social Democrats, said the agreement showed citizens that “we are not leaving anyone alone.” Greens leader Richard Lang said: “Millions of people in this country will be helped quickly, sensitively and in a non-bureaucratic way.”
Dietmar Barch, head of the left-wing opposition club in the Bundestag, said he was disappointed with the results of the deal, but above all with the monthly ticket that will replace the nine-euro ticket, because “many people on low incomes will not to be able to afford the new ticket of 49 euros”. He has an idea to introduce an annual ticket of 365 euros.
Both the left and the Christian Democrats demand greater investment in transport infrastructure.
The president of the German assembly of cities, Markus Loewe, criticized the measures as insufficient, arguing that a monthly ticket at this price would lead to fewer journeys. On the other hand, German railways welcomed the introduction of such a ticket.
Criticism of the amount of funding planned by the federal government for refugees comes mainly from the municipal level. Therefore, the expectations from the budgets of the provinces have increased. Also, according to Reinhard Sager, the president of the German district assembly, the aid promised by the federal state is sent through the state level, so according to him, the state authorities should transfer the funds to the municipalities as soon as possible.