As expected, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’ government decided to dump the gas levy it was going to introduce. Instead, Germany intends to limit the natural gas price consumers and companies have to pay by investing a huge amount of money.
Berlin, September 29th, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — “The prices need to go down.” Olaf Scholz made this statement during a press conference he joined via a video connection from his apartment at the chancellery. He could not be present in person because of his Corona infection. The government would do all it could to limit the natural gas price people would have to pay, he vowed.
The giant amount of 200 billion Euro (195.56 U.S. Dollars or 177 billion Pounds Sterling) required for this plan is supposed to be covered by new loans. When Corona hit Europe in early 2020, Germany set up an ‘Economy and Stabilization Fund’ which is supposed to be used to help the economy in this new crisis. According to Scholz, the steps his ‘traffic light coalition’ agreed on will help pensioners, families, handicraft businesses and the industry to pay their energy bills.
Scholz conceded the gas levy was not needed anymore. He also mentioned the fact that the Federal Republic’s gas reservoirs are almost full right now. The available natural gas would be used this winter, he stated. The Chancellor accused Russia of using energy supplies as a weapon. The damage on the pipelines North Stream I and II made clear gas from Russia would not be delivered anytime soon.
Commerce Minister Robert Habeck added the energy crisis could escalate. He is not the only one who fears it might turn into an economic and social crisis. Habeck said Vladimir Putin’s regime was attacking Germany’s national economy. According to him, the gas price cap is the defense. The details of the measure are not known yet. An expert commission is supposed to come up with suggestions.
Finance Minister Christian Lindner appealed to the Christain Democrats (CDU) to support the government’s plan. This most important opposition party will be needed to implement the price cap. Germany was in an “energy war” about prosperity and freedom.
In the meantime, the German authorities are not sure who caused the explosions that damaged the natural gas pipelines North Stream I and II. Some MPs were informaed about the latest results of the ongoing investigation, but there is no final result. At least none was shared in public. Of course, Russia is the main suspect. A total of four pipeline leaks were reported.