DThe financing of billions in savings in energy costs for consumers and companies remains controversial between the federal and state governments. A meeting of several hours between the Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) with the Prime Ministers of the federal states in the Chancellery did not reach an agreement on Tuesday evening. With the planned so-called defense shield of up to 200 billion euros and the three relief packages, the volume is 295 billion euros, said Scholz. “The federal government will take on and finance almost 240, 250 billion euros of this.” The talks with the states are on a constructive path. On the issue of refugee costs, the chancellor assured the federal states that they would make a decision by the end of the year. It was agreed that way, he said.
Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia Hendrik Wust (CDU) was disappointed and sharply criticized the federal government: “Despite the constructive attitude of the federal states, the federal government has shown little willingness to compromise on very important issues today,” said Wüst after the deliberations. “We’ve only made a few steps forward today and we’re still a long way from reaching our goal.”
From the point of view of many countries, the results are insufficient. There are “a whole lot of unanswered questions” that the federal government must answer. From the meeting he had hoped at least a corridor for the level of relief through the planned gas price brake. Scholz, on the other hand, referred to the gas commission, which is preparing a proposal for this that should be available next week.
The Prime Minister of Rhineland-Palatinate, Malu Dreyer, emphasized similarities, although there has not yet been a consensus on financing. “16 states and the federal government agree on the goal: fight the energy price crisis, relieve citizens and maintain the competitiveness of the German economy in order to secure jobs,” said the SPD politician on Tuesday evening.
Participants had already dampened expectations of concrete results of the meeting in advance. Prime Minister of Lower Saxony Stephen Weil (SPD) then outlined the further schedule for the talks on the distribution of costs for the relief. In two weeks at the next prime ministers’ conference, a qualified interim report from the federal government should be available, he said. “We hope that by the end of the month, beginning of next month, we can really draw a final line under all of this.” The entire legislative package should then be passed in November or December.
Successor to the 9-euro ticket open
Local public transport customers are still unclear as to whether and when there will be a nationwide successor model to the 9-euro ticket. The federal and state governments were also unable to agree on the financing issues for this project during their consultations on Tuesday. The federal government rejected demands from the states for more money for local transport in general.
One must continue to work on an agreement, said Weil. The 9-euro ticket has brought considerable relief in urban areas, but not in many rural areas where there is not such a good offer. Wüst said it shouldn’t happen that bars have to be thinned out. The transport ministers of the federal and state governments should consult again. A conference is planned for mid-October.
The 9-euro ticket, which has been bought millions of times, made it possible to travel by bus and train nationwide for one month in June, July and August. The federal traffic light coalition had agreed to provide the states with an additional 1.5 billion euros annually for a nationwide local transport ticket if the states provided at least the same amount. The goal is a price between 49 and 69 euros per month.
However, the states insist on generally more money from the federal government for buses and trains. On the one hand, they want a structural increase in the so-called regionalization funds by 1.5 billion euros this year, and on the other hand, due to the massive increase in energy prices in 2022 and 2023, an additional 1.65 billion euros each.
The federal government gives the federal states billions in financial support for local transport in the form of so-called regionalization funds. The federal states order services from bus and train operators.