The economy expects this help from the federal government

Berlin The pressure on the federal government is increasing to quickly deploy the announced €200 billion defense against the energy crisis. Speed ​​is demanded above all from the economy, but also from the heads of government of the countries. The protective shield is something like a “lucky bag”, said North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst (CDU), “nobody knows what’s inside, but everyone is happy.”

The implementation of the mega rescue package for citizens and the economy was the main topic at the Chancellor’s meeting Olaf Scholz (SPD) and the Prime Minister on Tuesday evening. But concrete results could scholzWust and Lower Saxony Prime Minister Stephen Weil (SPD) not communicate after the meeting.

The federal and state governments still do not agree on how they want to split the costs for the third relief package. Above all, however, an important basis for decisions was missing: After all, the expert commission set up by the federal government is still advising on the exact design of the gas price brake.

It needs “a solution that works,” said Scholz. “I expect we’ll have results next week.” Also because demanded that the announced electricity price and gas price brake should be clear “as soon as possible”. A concept is needed “that meets the expectations of citizens and the economy”.

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North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister Wüst was upset about the unsuccessful federal-state meeting. “We’ve only made a few steps forward.” It is important for the federal states that you now get “clarity and speed” in the matter.

Of the CDU-Politicians also had an eye on the companies that are currently suffering from high energy costs. According to Wüst, the companies should be able to plan, “every day counts.”

Economy is relieved about the end of the gas surcharge

Business calls for help are getting louder and louder. The federal government has “obviously recognized the seriousness of the situation for Germany’s industry and economy,” said Carsten Franzke, Managing Director of nitrogen works Piesteritz, or SKW for short, with a view to the promised support. The important thing now is “speed and quality”. For him, it should only be “a matter of a few days or weeks, not months”.

Skyrocketing gas prices and the originally planned gas levy, which would cost the company from Lutherstadt Wittenberg 30 million euros, prompted SKW to temporarily shut down production. Last week, the company boss met Saxony-Anhalt’s Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff (CDU) and described the situation. Haseloff Scholz should have been one of those who put pressure on in the federal-state group.

>> Also read here: “Late, but not too late” – Entrepreneurs are pushing for the rapid implementation of the energy defense shield

According to a survey by the Association of Family Businesses, many companies are in the same situation as SKW. “Outside in our economy, the storm is already whipping through the industrial areas,” said association president Reinhold von Eben-Worlée. The savings of twelve percent in gas consumption that have been achieved so far by industry are not the result of sheer economy. “A large part results from throttling and even complete cessation of productions,” said Eben-Worlée.


percent of 700 family businesses surveyed classify their situation as threatening their existence or see their competitiveness in danger.

The association conducted a survey among more than 700 member companies. Almost a quarter of those surveyed classified their company’s situation as a result of the energy crisis as a threat to its existence or as a threat to its competitiveness. 27 percent of the companies reacted at short notice by temporarily or permanently reducing or stopping production.

Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) has meanwhile sent the gas levy “into the annals of history”, as he put it. This makes the economy easier. The only problem is that it is not yet clear what exactly the further relief from the high energy prices will look like.

Prime Minister Advice

Hendrik Wüst (CDU, 2nd from left), Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, and Malu Dreyer (2nd from right, SPD), Prime Minister of Rhineland-Palatinate, discuss the energy crisis with their country colleagues.

(Photo: dpa)

According to the economist Isabella Weber from the US University of Massachusetts Amherst, who presented a concept for a gas price brake in February, the instrument should take effect this year. “Retrospective relief for the first autumn months is also conceivable,” she says. However, it is unclear whether this time horizon is realistic and depends above all on the concept that the expert commission appointed by the government is developing.

The fund is also intended to provide liquidity and equity support

The question is what will happen in the transition period. The federal government launched an aid package for the economy a few months ago. The most important instrument is a subsidy program for energy costs. This has so far been limited to energy-intensive industry, but is now to be extended to small and medium-sized companies.

However, companies should only be able to use it if they can prove that their energy costs have at least doubled. There are also complaints from business that the authorities need weeks to process the applications.

According to economist Stefan Kooths, now is not the time for general liquidity support anyway. “Basically, companies have to pass on the higher energy costs, this is the best way to deal with the economy as a whole,” says the Vice President of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. The companies are quite successful in passing it on. Kooths refers to the sharp rise in prices that companies are asking their commercial customers for.

>> Also read here: Record increase of 43.3 percent – ​​producer prices continue to rise

Even with the start of the gas price brake, however, not all problems will be solved. Larger industrial companies in particular often conclude their own supply contracts for gas and do not rely on energy suppliers. However, the brake is expected to be implemented via the suppliers. The direct route via the Economic Stabilization Fund (WSF) could therefore be a solution for companies with their own contracts.

The traffic light peaks have also decided that not only the gas price brake should be financed from the 200 billion euros. The WSF should also regain its original function as a direct financial support for companies. “Liquidity and equity support is available to companies that are not sufficiently affected by the electricity and gas price brake,” says the decision of the traffic light coalition.

Without fertilizer production there is no Adblue either

The head of the Piesteritz nitrogen works, Franzke, has also been negotiating with the officials in the Berlin Ministry of Economic Affairs for weeks. SKW is systemically relevant, as the saying goes. Without ammonia there would be no chemical production, no vaccination ampoules, no batteries for electric cars, no carbon dioxide for mineral water and beer. Without fertilizer production, there is no Adblue either, which every modern diesel vehicle has to swallow.

>> Also read here: Germany must use its own energy sources to save the industry

However, SKW is still waiting for an answer from Berlin. There should be help. However, there are no concrete commitments. According to the plan, one of the two plants will then produce ammonia and AdBlue again. At the same time, the company would save half of its gas consumption. Trusting his word, Franzke has long since made advance payments, warming up a system again so that production can be ramped up quickly.

The warmed-up plant is now producing minimally. Despite the continued high gas prices, SKW will therefore “start deliveries to a limited extent”, as Franzke says. But the all-clear sounds different. “How long we can produce is still uncertain and depends on the specific political solution and the appropriate framework conditions.”

More: Weber and Fuest in a dispute – what does the gas price brake do?

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