Sep 2 2022 4:48 p.m
If the federal government, as Finance Minister Christian Lindner prefers, should stick to relief amounts for the population in the single-digit billions, the Verdi union wants to cause nationwide protests. Others had previously announced this.
Shortly before the federal government’s decisive deliberations on further measures in view of the high energy prices, the Verdi trade union is threatening to protest across Germany if the citizens are not sufficiently relieved. “In order to compensate for the financial hardship caused by the energy price explosion, the state will have to spend an additional 20 to 30 billion euros this year,” said Verdi boss Frank Werneke Augsburg General. Verdi is also preparing demonstrations with other trade unions and social organizations over the course of the autumn. “They will be necessary if the federal government does not relieve the citizens sufficiently.”
The left and AfD had also announced that they would organize protests and warned of a “hot autumn”. “In one of the richest economies in the world, we must not accept that people live in poverty and do not know whether they can still heat their homes in winter,” warned Linke leader Janine Wissler at a rally at the end of August and renewed the demands , to continue the 9-euro ticket and to tax excessive profits of companies in the crisis more heavily.
If, in addition to the rapidly rising prices for gas and electricity, there should actually be an energy shortage in winter, some see social upheaval in Germany.
The SPD and the Greens had pushed for a decision on new state aid against the high prices this week. Before the Bundestag discusses the budget for 2023 on Tuesday, there must be clarity, the leaders of the parliamentary group said on Thursday.
Finance Minister Christian Lindner had strictly opposed further relief than previously announced, arguing that there was simply no more money for it.
Then he was suddenly able to scrape together a sum in the single-digit billion range for the relief package – because the tax revenue was better than expected, as the FDP politician explained at the cabinet meeting in Meseberg. However, the coalition partners consider this to be absolutely insufficient.
Green parliamentary group leader Katharina Dröge said: “We advocate different measures that are targeted.” She also announced that the leeway provided by the finance minister would have to be expanded accordingly: “It will certainly not be in the single-digit billion range that the coalition there should agree on,” said Dröge on the sidelines of a meeting of the extended parliamentary group executive committee in Potsdam. The previous two packages had a total volume of around 30 billion euros.
SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich would not categorically rule out a supplementary budget either, as he told the magazine Radiowelt des Radiosenders Bayern 2 said. But there are certainly funds in the budget that are not being spent. “Here the Minister of Finance also has leeway.” The Greens and SPD can also imagine a special tax on excessive company profits to finance relief measures – but the FDP rejects this.
The Bundestag will discuss the budget for 2023 from Tuesday, before that there should be clarity. “We will decide on a third relief package this week,” said Greens leader Ricarda Lang in the ZDF-Broadcast Maybrit Illner. The decision is to be made in a meeting of the coalition committee, which includes Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck (Greens), Finance Minister Lindner and the faction and party leaders of the three traffic light partners. On Friday it was said that the coalition committee would meet on Saturday morning to discuss new measures in view of the high energy prices.
According to Chancellor Scholz, the government “agrees to want to do something for those who earn little money”. “We want to reform the housing allowance so that more people benefit from it, and we will replace Hartz IV with the new citizen’s allowance at the beginning of next year,” he affirmed in the West German General Newspaper. “And we will do something for pensioners and students and lower taxes for many.”
The Green Youth called for an energy price cap, an excess profit tax, direct payments and a continuation of the 9-euro ticket. “The traffic light must create a real rescue package for people, because time is of the essence,” said the co-head of the Green youth organization, Sarah-Lee Heinrich German press agency.
Heinrich demanded that the federal government must follow up with action and Lindner must give up the austerity measures. “The suspension of the debt brake in 2023 is necessary.”
Verdi boss Werneke also called for this. The debt brake sets strict limits on new federal borrowing.
The German social association (SOVD) described the decision on a third relief package as overdue. “Because people finally need certainty that they can get through the winter without being afraid of sitting in cold apartments and in front of empty refrigerators,” said Federal Executive Chairwoman Michaela Engelmeier of DGerman press agency. The SOVD demanded, among other things, a heating cost component in the housing allowance, the waiver of gas and electricity cuts, a flat-rate energy price for pensioners and students, and an inflation allowance for everyone.
Even without an excess profit tax, the coalition can finance the third relief package with additional tax revenue, as leading tax estimators calculate. From January to July, the federal government took in 16 percent more taxes than in the previous year and is therefore six percentage points higher than previously expected, said Nils Boysen-Hogrefe from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy of the Düsseldorf Rheinische Post. In the first half of the year, sales tax alone was EUR 29 billion more than in the previous year. However, the good development in the second half of the year cannot simply be continued.
For the tax estimator of the German Institute for Economic Research, Kristina van Deuverden, there are indications that many companies have corrected their profit expectations too far because of Corona and are now paying back taxes. Her colleague Max Lay from the Munich Ifo Institute pointed out in the newspaper that government spending did not increase so much in the first half of the year due to the end of Corona aid, which could result in leeway.