Financing the relief measures: countries want clarity

The federal government is planning further relief in the energy crisis. The federal states have questions to Chancellor Scholz about participating in the financing.

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD)

Has to explain the financing of the “double boom” to the federal states: Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) Photo: Fabian Sommer/dpa

BERLIN dpa | Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) will be in Berlin on Tuesday to discuss the future course of the energy crisis with the heads of government of the federal states. The federal states expect Scholz and his traffic light government to clarify the situation planned gas price brake and the financing of various relief measures. Federal politicians, in turn, expect the states to support the relief plans.

Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil (SPD) told the newspapers of the Funk media group (Tuesday): “I’m sure that the federal and state governments will clarify the open questions together and bring about the relief that entrepreneurs will have citizens so badly need.” SPD leader Lars Klingbeil said Rheinische Post: “The traffic light has delivered. And I expect that the conservatives at the state level will not slow down this jolt either.”

The federal government wants to protect consumers and companies from high energy prices due to the Ukraine war with a package of measures worth up to 200 billion euros. Gas and electricity prices should be capped. There should be liquidity and equity support for companies. The aid is to be financed through loans. It is also about the implementation of the third relief package planned by the federal government with a volume of 65 billion euros.

Federal Minister of Finance Christian Lindner called on the federal states to make their contribution to overcoming the crisis before the consultations on financing the planned relief. “You have to help each other. But it is also not possible, if I may say so in all politeness, that the federal states simply implement coalition projects and achieve budget surpluses – and the federal government is in the deep red and has to do crisis management,” said the FDP politician on Tuesday in the ZDF “Morgenmagazin”. “I think the citizens expect all levels of government to do their part to ensure that our country gets through these times without major damage.”

The Social Association Germany (SoVD) called on the federal states not to block the third relief package. “We need solidarity between the strong and the weak and a joint effort by the federal and state governments,” said Chairwoman Michaela Engelmeier. Four weeks have passed since the agreement on the package. “The federal and state governments must not settle their dispute on the backs of those affected.” She demanded speed: “The high costs of food are incurred every week.”

Concept for the gas price brake

It is still unclear how gas prices will be capped. “This must now be clarified quickly,” demanded the North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst (CDU) on Sunday in the ZDF program Berlin direct. “The government in Berlin shouldn’t put this off on the long bench.” Families and companies should know where they stand at the beginning of the heating period.

Hesse’s Prime Minister Boris Rhein (CDU) said that Editorial network Germany so far, the countries alone have known the volume of 200 billion euros for capping energy prices. The countries worked together constructively to combat the energy crisis. But the federal government must continue to support the states financially: “The 200 billion umbrella cannot mean that the states are now left out in the rain.”

Financing the housing benefit reform

It is also disputed how the significant increase in housing allowances planned by the federal government is to be financed. From January, the state rent subsidy is to increase by an average of 190 euros per month – it is also to be paid to 1.4 million more citizens. “The federal government would like to do a lot, then it should pay for it itself,” said Wüst. So far, the housing allowance has been financed equally by the federal and state governments, but the states no longer want to participate.

Financing of the 9-euro ticket successor

Even after the end of the 9-euro ticket, there should be a nationwide public transport ticket at a price between 49 and 69 euros per month. The countries should agree on the details among themselves. Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) offered to increase the so-called regionalization funds by 1.5 billion euros annually. In view of the high energy prices, the federal states believe that this is not enough to be able to offer attractive local transport in the long term.

Financing the reception of refugees

Hundreds of thousands of people fled Ukraine to Germany before the Russian war. The states are demanding that the federal government honor its promise from the spring to support them more with the costs of accommodation and care. Wüst said: “When winter comes, when cold and wet get into the destroyed houses in Ukraine, then more people will come to us – have to come.” Their decent housing and care is one of the major tasks for municipalities and states. “You need money for that.”

Additional relief

Before the of Scholz as “double boom” The federal states had brought further relief into play in the 200 billion euro package. These include, for example, deferring tax payments, especially from companies, and protecting tenants from evictions if they cannot pay ancillary costs and rent. It is unclear whether such demands will come up in discussions with the federal government.

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