Sunday, 4 December, 2022

Germany agrees 65bn-euro inflation relief package

Germany agrees 65bn-euro inflation relief package

BERLIN: The German government on Sunday agreed a 65-billion-euro ($65-billion) plan to ease the pressure on households as Russian gas supplies dwindle and energy bills soar, according to a policy paper seen by AFP.

"Timely and proportionate relief for citizens and businesses is necessary due to the rapidly increasing burden of high energy prices," Germany's coalition partners said in the document, adding that the total package came to "over 65 billion euros".

The measures include a one-off payment of 300 euros to millions of pensioners to help them cover rising energy bills, reports AFP.

The government will also target students with a smaller one-off payment of 200 euros, and an heating cost payment for people receiving housing benefits.

The announcement follows two previous relief packages totalling 30 billion euros, which included a reduction in the tax on petrol and a popular heavily subsidised public transport ticket.

Under the agreement, the government earmarks 1.5 billion euros for work on a successor to the nine-euro monthly ticket on local and regional transport networks, though the price would likely be higher.

Berlin, for years reliant on Russian energy imports to meet its needs, has been acutely exposed to energy price rises as supplies from Moscow dwindle.

German inflation rose again to 7.9 percent in August, after falling for two months under the influence of government relief measures.

The take-off in energy prices is expected to push inflation in Germany and the eurozone to around 10 percent by the end of the year, its highest rate in decades.

The government's latest relief package came two days after Russian energy giant Gazprom said it would not restart gas deliveries via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline on Saturday as planned after a three-day maintenance.

The Russian company has cited faulty or delayed equipment as the main reason for the 80pc reduction of gas deliveries via the pipeline. Earlier this week, Moscow said only sanctions are preventing Nord Stream 1 from working at full capacity. Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller had also warned that sanctions could obstruct Siemens Energy from carrying out regular maintenance of the pipeline’s equipment.

In August, German inflation rose to 7.9pc. The surge in energy prices is forecast to send it soaring around 10pc in Germany and the Eurozone by the end of 2022, the highest in decades.