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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Energy crisis: Municipalities dissatisfied with federal-state decisions

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Now the federal and state governments have gotten together. They want to relieve consumers when using public transport and with energy costs. The municipalities are struggling with the decisions.

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The federal-state agreement on the financing of planned relief measures is met with criticism from the municipalities. Leading municipal associations consider the cost commitments for caring for refugees to be insufficient. Cities and municipalities are also rather skeptical about the agreement on a 49-euro ticket for buses and trains in local and regional transport.

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Yesterday, the Prime Ministers of the federal states settled their dispute with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) about the financing of planned relief measures in the crisis and, among other things, cleared the way for a successor to the 9-euro ticket. In the future there will be a monthly 49-euro ticket, also known as the Deutschlandticket. The federal states will also receive more money for the expansion of buses and trains. The federal government also provided billions more for the accommodation of refugees. The federal and state governments also share the costs of the housing benefit reform.

“Traffic turnaround threatens to end up on the siding”

The President of the Association of German Cities, Markus Lewe, criticized that a better transport service could not be provided with the funds promised. “There is a further threat that timetables will have to be thinned out. The turnaround in traffic threatens to end up on the sidelines,” said the mayor of Münster to the German Press Agency.

The commitments from the federal and state governments for financing the reception of refugees are also not sufficient. The challenges increase every day. More and more people are coming from Ukraine and other countries. “The cities are aware of their responsibility and will not leave the refugees on the streets. However, we expect that the federal states will quickly expand their reception capacities and now get more involved in the financing themselves,” warned Lewe.

“Significantly more capacity in initial reception facilities”

The general manager of the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, Gerd Landsberg, also called for “significantly more capacity in initial reception facilities and collective accommodation” from the federal states. The municipalities are already at the limit of their accommodation options, Landsberg told the “Rheinische Post”.

He and the President of the German District Association, Reinhard Sager, also demanded that the states pass on the funds made available by the federal government to the municipalities. The municipalities have considerable expenses in caring for the refugees, emphasized Sager in the editorial network Germany (RND).

For the current year, the federal government wants to provide an additional 1.5 billion euros for the care of refugees from Ukraine, among other places. So far, 2 billion euros have been pledged for the care of Ukraine refugees. For the coming year there should be 1.5 billion euros for the reception of refugees from the country attacked by Russia. An annual lump sum of 1.25 billion euros has been announced for people from other countries.

“Citizens pay for hesitation with loss of prosperity”

The head of parliament for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, Thorsten Frei, has meanwhile criticized the start of the gas price brake, which is still unclear. “Citizens are now paying for the hesitancy of the traffic light with a great loss of prosperity, and many companies are threatened with insolvency,” said the CDU politician to the “Rheinische Post”.

The introduction of the 49-euro ticket could not be the end of the considerations, said Frei with a view to people in rural areas. “What’s the use of a ticket that everyone pays for in the end if a bus rarely comes by? The traffic light has to provide answers quickly here,” he demanded.

The German social association is also dissatisfied with the 49-euro ticket, but because of the price. CEO Michaela Engelmeier told dpa that not everyone could afford this. The association therefore demands a 365-euro annual ticket. “One euro a day for mobility, that would really be socially acceptable,” said Engelmeier.

“Here a “Wumms” would have been necessary”

Left parliamentary group leader Dietmar Bartsch also complained that the 49-euro ticket was too expensive for many low-income households. And the additional funds for the expansion of traffic are just a drop in the bucket. “Here a “boom” would have been necessary,” Bartsch told the newspapers of the Funke media group.

SPD faction leader Rolf Mützenich called on the opposition in the Bundestag to work more constructively with the traffic light coalition. “Because no one benefits from small-minded party-political calculations that ignore people’s concerns,” said Mützenich of the dpa.

In the most recent talks, the federal states have shown that they are pulling in the same direction as the federal government. “The opposition in the Bundestag should take this constructive attitude as an example,” said Mützenich. He accused some politicians from the CDU and CSU of “unnecessary lamentation”.

SPD leader Saskia Esken defended the federal-state decisions. She told the Funke newspapers: “With the measures that have now been decided, we will get through the winter well.” The agreement between the federal and state governments is “a clear signal to all citizens. We don’t leave anyone alone”. Green Party chairwoman Ricarda Lang emphasized that the federal and state governments had made it possible for millions of people in this country to be relieved noticeably, quickly and unbureaucratically.

Source: Stern

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