Lower Saxony’s Economics Minister and CDU top candidate Bernd Althusmann has sharply criticized the relief package of the Berlin traffic light coalition. “This package does seem massive, but upon closer inspection it falls far short of what was announced and the expectations it raised.”
Next said Althusmann to FOCUS online. “Real relief looks different. This package can be understood as a working basis for real, comprehensive relief, which must be worked out together with the federal states.”
Specifically, Althusmann lacks quick help for consumers and companies. “Above all, the relief of the middle class, the hard-working middle of our society, as well as the small and medium-sized businesses were apparently left out.”
Some of the announced measures, such as the reduction of cold progression, are correct, but would “take effect much too late, when winter is already over”. The same applies to one-off payments to pensioners and students. The 300 euros (pensioners) and 200 euros (students) earmarked for this by the traffic light is the correct correction of previous omissions, but the payments come much too late. According to the relief package, pensioners should receive money on December 1st, no date is given for students. “People are getting the bills now. And the fact that the older people and students were simply forgotten in the first relief packages makes the coalition unbelievable.”
Althusmann also complained that the traffic light had not created any clarity as to how the gas levy should continue. “This botch should be abolished,” said the CDU politician. He also lacks the reduction in the industrial electricity price to 4 cents/kilowatt hour promised by Chancellor Scholz during the election campaign, as well as precise information on the amount of basic demand for which the electricity price should be capped according to the traffic light.
He was disappointed that the coalition lacked the courage to decide to extend the lifetime of nuclear power plants. “I suspect that they want to delay the decision until it is no longer technically possible. That is irresponsible and a transparent manoeuvre.”
He does not share Chancellor Scholz’s confidence that Germany will get through the winter when it comes to energy. “The traffic light gives the population a false sense of security. Even the current level of gas storage will not ensure that there will be no bottlenecks.” Not all of the mandatory requirements that the Federal Network Agency has named for a mild scenario can be met. For example, too much gas is still being used to generate electricity, and the savings target of 20 percent is almost impossible to achieve, says Althusmann.