Berlin’s Senator for the Environment, Bettina Jarasch, doesn’t think it’s possible for the state to cushion all the consequences for citizens of rapidly rising energy and food prices.
“Promising an all-round carefree package now would mean sending people into a trap,” said the Greens politician to the German Press Agency. “To give the impression that the state can ensure that nothing changes would be to deceive people. We will no longer be able to afford to pour something out on everyone with a watering can. And it wouldn’t be fair.”
Jarasch pleaded for the most targeted possible state aid and relief for the people most affected by the energy crisis. For transfer benefit recipients, the state bears the heating cost subsidies. “We now have to relieve those who work hard but earn little.”
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Jarasch, who is also responsible for consumer protection, referred to a proposal by the DGB to guarantee a possibly subsidized fixed price for a certain basic requirement for electricity and gas. Those who consume more would then have to pay higher prices for this additional quantity.
“I have a lot of sympathy for this idea,” said the senator. “It would be worth seriously considering this proposal if the federal government is now considering further relief.”
Jarasch considers a complete cap on energy prices to be impossible. “If they weren’t allowed to pass on higher prices, energy companies would go bankrupt in droves. Nobody can want that.”
Jarasch also advocated reducing VAT on many staple foods. “Poorer people in particular, all transfer benefit recipients, but also all those who earn little, would clearly feel that. That would be targeted relief.” According to Jarasch, the Conference of Consumer Ministers recently unanimously decided on this demand from the federal government.
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In addition to aid for the citizens, the federal and state governments must ensure security of supply as far as possible, added Jarasch. “That’s why I think it’s right to start burning coal again in the short term. And at the same time, we have to push ahead with the expansion of renewable energies with a whole new determination and speed. Prices will only fall if we become independent in terms of energy supply,” she emphasized.
Due to maintenance work, no Russian gas has flowed through the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline to Germany since last Monday (July 11). The maintenance is scheduled to last until July 21st.