Germany issues nearly €65 bln relief to deal with winter energy crisis
The German government agrees to a relief package to ease the pressure on citizens due to skyrocketing inflation and energy costs as Russia just cut off its gas supplies to Europe.
The German government approved Sunday a €65 billion ($64.7 billion) relief package, which includes continued cheaper public transport and tax breaks for energy-reliant companies, as they have been affected the most by the biggest surge in prices.
According to the Federal Statistical Office, Germany's inflation rose to almost 8% in August after declining slightly in the months of June and July.
The consecutive sanctions against Moscow prompted a race against the clock to diminish Germany's reliance on Russian gas before winter. Groceries and food are other sectors experiencing the aftermath of soaring inflation which saw prices surge 12% in June before reaching 16.6% in August.
In a press release after talks on Sunday, chancellor Olaf Scholz said Germany would give €1.5 billion ($1.52 billion) toward public transport discounts after the country's monthly €9 ($9.1) travel ticket offer expired at the end of August, adding that windfall taxes would likely be assessed on energy companies to lower the price of gas, oil, and coal for consumers.
Scholz also reassured the matter of Germany's energy supply ahead of the winter after Russia recently stopped gas supplies to Europe through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, commenting that Germany made "timely decisions" to avoid shortages in winter, such as filling gas storage facilities and restarting coal power plants. "We will get through this winter," he said.
13 EU nations have either ceased getting Russian gas entirely or are only receiving a portion of it due to the temporary blockage of the Nord Stream pipeline 1, according to TASS.
This is the third relief package by the German government this year. The two previous ones included a gasoline rebate that expired at the end of August, the €9 transportation ticket, and an energy price flat payment to workers.