As Europe struggles with dwindling supplies in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Germany has unveiled a €65 billion package of measures to reduce the threat of rising energy bills.
The package, which is far more significant than the two before it, will include one-time grants to the most disadvantaged people and tax benefits for companies with high energy costs.
Since the invasion in February, energy costs have skyrocketed, and Europe is making efforts to wean itself off Russian energy.
Ukraine has asked the EU countries to remain firm.
The regular existence of every European person, according to President Volodymyr Zelensky, is being attacked by Russia. He said that only European unity would provide security against Russia’s upcoming “decisive energy strike on all Europeans” in his nightly address on Saturday.
And his wife Olena stated that if there was significant support for Ukraine, the crisis might end sooner in a BBC interview that was aired on Sunday. While the increased cost of living was difficult for Britons, she emphasized that Ukrainians were paying with their lives.
European Union officials have cautioned that there will likely be a turning point in the near future when nations begin to experience severe economic suffering while still being expected to support Ukraine’s military and humanitarian effort. This is according to the website Politico.
There are already hints of unhappiness; on Sunday, demonstrators in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, took to the streets to demonstrate against high energy costs and demand the lifting of sanctions against Russia. According to the police, there were roughly 70,000 attendees, mostly from the extreme right and left political movements.
Several hundred protesters assembled in the interim at the Nord Stream gas pipeline terminal in Lubmin, northern Germany.
They demanded that the new pipeline, Nord Stream 2, be implemented. This pipeline was about to do so when the German government blocked it due to the invasion.
Russia announced two days ago that it would indefinitely halt its gas deliveries to Germany via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline currently in use.
Germany’s stocks are now 84% full, up from less than half full in June as a result of the standoff with Russia forcing nations like it to locate supplies abroad.
According to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Russia is “no longer a reliable energy partner,” but Germany will survive the winter.
He said the government would give one-time payments to retirees, recipients of benefits, and students. The cost of energy bills would also be capped.
Tax benefits worth €1.7 billion would be given to about 9,000 energy-intensive companies.
Mr. Scholz stated that bills would be reduced by imposing a windfall tax on energy business profits.
With the most recent package, the total amount spent on the energy crisis assistance has reached about €100 billion. This compares to the roughly €300 billion spent on interventions to keep the German economy afloat during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Germany is inspiring other EU countries to do the same
Liz Truss, a potential candidate for the UK Tory leadership, has stated that if she is elected prime minister on Tuesday, she will present a plan to address energy costs within a week.
The 9 September meeting of the EU’s energy ministers is scheduled to examine ways to lessen the burden of high energy costs throughout the Union.
According to Reuters, gas price caps and immediate liquidity support for participants in the energy sector are among the items on the agenda, according to a document that was made public regarding the meeting.