In the federal government, there is growing support for taxing profiteers from crises and wars more heavily. The Greens and SPD are primarily focusing on the mineral oil companies. “We have been observing a decoupling of crude oil prices and gas station prices for months. A few are benefiting, while many medium-sized companies are suffering from the high energy prices and are wondering how they are going to get through the next year,” Green Party leader Ricarda Lang told the Tagesspiegel. “The excess profit tax would be a logical step.”
The SPD chairman Lars Klingbeil had previously shown himself open to such a project. In view of the billion-dollar relief packages, he is working intensively on the question of how to deal with companies that are making higher profits as a result of the current situation, he told the “Funke” media group. “A tax on war and crisis profits is an instrument that is on the table and that I think is very worth considering.”
Lang referred to other countries that are already taking similar steps. Italy, for example, has announced a tax on additional profits from energy companies. There, the levy should be ten percent on additional profits. “Italy and Greece have each shown a way, Britain is working on it. The EU Commission proposed it, the European Parliament confirmed it,” said Lang. “If the political will is there, Germany can do it too.”
The mineral oil companies in Germany are being criticized for the high fuel prices. A reduction in energy taxes on Wednesday only caused prices to drop temporarily according to the current status. Recently they had risen again in many places. According to the ADAC traffic club, the price for the Super E10 rose again on Saturday morning. Diesel was roughly at the level of the previous day.
SPD faction deputy Matthias Miersch is pushing for stricter laws in view of the fuel prices. “We have to ask ourselves whether certain profits are not immoral,” Miersch told the Süddeutsche Zeitung. “Politicians must now consider what answers they have in addition to financial relief that will get to the root of the problem,” said Miersch. This also includes skimming off so-called excess profits.
Ifo boss Clemens Fuest warned against such a step. In the current situation, he does not believe in special taxes for excess profits. “The profits are taxed. Introducing special taxes for individual sectors depending on the economic situation opens the floodgates to arbitrariness and populism,” he told the Rheinische Post.
SPD faction leader Rolf Mützenich quickly announced further relief for citizens in view of rising prices. “There will be further decisions on the relief before the summer break,” said Mützenich the news portal t-online. Despite the two relief packages that have already been passed, “we know that due to rising energy and food prices, middle society in particular still needs further relief”.
When asked whether he supported the proposal by Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD) to also pay pensioners the energy flat rate of 300 euros, Mützenich said: “I can imagine that. But we will discuss and decide together.”
Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir (Greens) also believes that further aid is necessary. “I’m worried about the current price trend for food due to the Ukraine war,” he told the “Welt am Sonntag”. The federal government immediately put together relief packages to react to the consequences of the terrible war. “And if things continue like this, then I can tell you: after the relief package is before the relief package.”
Özdemir proposed the abolition of VAT on fruit, vegetables and legumes. “The main beneficiaries would be low-income households. We would also create an additional incentive for a healthier diet.” However, it is clear to him that the proposal “will not trigger storms of enthusiasm among all coalition partners”.
In the discussion about biofuel, which is obtained from arable crops, Özdemir campaigned for the specifications for filling stations to be completely abolished. “I hope that we can reach agreement in the interministerial vote on gradually reducing the mandatory admixture quotas for agricultural fuel to zero.” This would free up around 800,000 hectares in Germany for growing food.
However, it will not be possible to implement it quickly, Özdemir said. “It is clear to us that there are farmers who have invested in this area in recent years and need a transition period and new perspectives.”
Federal Finance Minister and FDP leader Christian Lindner called inflation “the greatest threat to economic development and social peace” in the country: “Therefore, combating it must have priority in all important tasks,” Lindner told the “Passauer Neue Presse” (Saturday). .
In order to limit the loss of purchasing power among people, the federal government has already acted through targeted relief. Lindner could imagine tax relief. “We’re doing a wage and income tax reform next year, adjusting the basic tax allowance and the tax rate for inflation. And if I have my way, there will be additional relief for those on low and medium incomes.”
In view of rising consumer prices, Verdi boss Frank Werneke believes that compensation through higher wages is inevitable. “Our course is very clear: Permanently rising prices must be fully offset by permanent collective wage increases,” said Werneke of the German Press Agency. He expects further relief for the population from the federal government – especially with regard to the significantly increased food prices.
CDU leader Friedrich Merz warned against the expectation that the state would compensate for all the additional costs caused by inflation. “Not every cost development can be offset by the public coffers,” Merz told the editorial network Germany (Saturday). The relief proposals from the Union faction are on the table. These included the abolition of cold progression, a flat-rate energy price for pensioners and students and the reduction of electricity tax to the EU minimum tax rate.
Farmers are assuming that food prices will continue to rise. Farmers’ President Joachim Rukwied told the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung” that the end of the road had not yet been reached: “We farmers inevitably need higher prices in order to be able to do business at all. I assume that prices in supermarkets will continue to rise in the near future.”