Germany has announced a €65bn package of measures to ease the threat of rising energy costs, as Europe struggles with scarce supplies after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The package, much bigger than previous two, will include one-off payments to the vulnerable and tax breaks for energy-intensive businesses.
Energy prices have skyrocketed since February when the invasion occurred and now Europe is trying to wean itself off Russian energy. Ukraine has urged Europe to stand firm in this decision.
President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that Russia was trying to destroy the lives of European citizens. In his nightly address on Saturday, he said that Russia is preparing a "decisive energy attack on all Europeans", and only unity among European countries can offer protection.
In a BBC interview broadcast on Sunday, Zelensky's wife Olena said that if support for Ukraine was stronger, the crisis would be shorter as well. She reminded Britain that while rising living costs were tough, Ukrainians were paying with their lives.
According to news outlets, European Union officials have warned that there is going to be a crunch point in the coming months when countries will begin to feel acute economic pain while still being asked to help Ukraine and humanitarian efforts.
There are already signs of discontent, with protesters taking to the streets of the Czech capital Prague on Sunday, rallying against high energy prices and calling for the removal of sanctions against Russia. Police said that about 70,000 people were in attendance.
Meanwhile, protesters gathered at Lubmin, Germany, the terminal of the Nord Stream gas pipeline from Russia, calling for the commissioning of Nord Stream 2, a new pipeline which was about to go online but was blocked by the German government after the invasion.
Two days ago, Russia said it was closing gas exports to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline indefinitely. The stand-off with Russia has forced countries like Germany to find supplies elsewhere, and its stores have increased from less than half full in June to 84% full today.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz informed journalists that Germany would get through the winter, adding that Russia is "no longer a reliable energy partner". He said that the government would make one-off payments to pensioners, people on benefits and students. There will also be caps on energy bills.
Around 9,000 energy-intensive businesses would receive tax breaks to the tune of €1.7bn. A windfall tax on energy company profits would also be used to reduce bills, Mr Scholz said. The latest package brings the total relief expenditure to almost €100 billion. Countries across Europe are considering similar measures.
UK Tory leadership hopeful Liz Truss has said that she will announce a plan to deal with energy costs within a week if she is to become prime minister on Tuesday.
European Union energy ministers are due to meet on 9 September to discuss how to ease the burden of energy prices across the bloc. A document regarding the meeting said that the agenda will include price caps for gas and emergency liquidity support for energy market participants.
Share This Post On
Leave a comment
You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in