Economics Minister Habeck
Photo: TOBIAS SCHWARZ / AFP
Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) has announced extended aid for companies to support them in the face of sharply increased energy costs.
Habeck said in the Bundestag that the economic substance in Germany must be preserved and protected.
For this purpose, a federal energy cost program should be expanded.
In the future, aid should no longer only go to companies that are involved in international trade, but also to companies that are making losses.
That applies to the industry.
Aid is also to be expanded for small and medium-sized enterprises.
In addition, down payments should be made quickly, said Habeck.
The federal government had launched a program in which companies can receive a subsidy for their increased natural gas and electricity costs.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs had already stated that extensions for medium-sized companies were planned.
Referring to a survey of small and medium-sized industrial companies, the Federation of German Industries reported that the industry was facing fundamental problems due to the extreme rise in energy prices.
Debt brake also questioned by Union politicians
Habeck said the federal government had set up a special fund worth 100 billion euros for national defense.
Financial resources must now be mobilized with the same determination to defend Germany's economic substance.
The Prime Minister of Saxony-Anhalt, Reiner Haseloff (CDU), warned in the Bundestag of a wave of insolvencies.
He urgently called for a coherent overall concept for overcoming the crisis.
At the same time, Haseloff questioned the debt brake in order to be able to react to the challenges.
Within the traffic light coalition in the federal government, there are different views as to whether the debt brake that has been suspended in recent years due to the pandemic and anchored in the Basic Law should be observed again in the coming year.
It only allows the federal government to take out new loans to a limited extent.
Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) insists on complying with the debt brake and thus attracts a lot of criticism.
At the same time, he sees support for it dwindling.
"I've seen that I'm getting lonelier now that Markus Söder has said that the debt brake is a matter of principle," Lindner told the portal "The Pioneer".
"If we don't face an emergency now, then when will we?"
The Bavarian Prime Minister and CSU chairman Söder had recently complained several times that the hands of the federal states were tied by the debt brake, while the federal government was working with "shadow budgets".
Lindner emphasized: "I think we should respect the debt brake and return to it next year if possible." Germany already has 30 billion euros to pay for debt service in 2023, said the FDP leader.
Among other things, Lower Saxony's Prime Minister Stephan Weil had campaigned for the debt brake to be suspended in view of the energy crisis.
"If we don't face an emergency now, then when will we?" asked the SPD politician on Thursday in the state parliament in Hanover.
The debt brake can be suspended in emergency situations, which happened in 2020 and 2021 because of the corona pandemic.
Germany is now at the beginning of a tough test, said Weil, both for private households and for the economy and social infrastructure such as local public transport.