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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Energy crisis: Municipalities criticize federal-state decisions | STERN.de

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The federal and state governments agree: people should be relieved of public transport and energy costs. But the municipalities are dissatisfied with the results of the talks.

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The agreement between the federal and state governments regarding the financing of planned relief measures has been met with criticism from the municipalities. Leading municipal associations consider the cost commitments for caring for refugees to be insufficient.

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The Prime Ministers of the federal states and Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) settled their dispute over the financing of planned relief measures in the crisis on Wednesday 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.

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.

Growing Challenges

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.

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.

“Principle watering can” promotes dissatisfaction

Diakonie President Ulrich Lilie called for a more targeted focus of the relief on people with low incomes and in precarious employment. “The watering can principle, after everyone gets a piece of the pie, promotes growing dissatisfaction in society,” he explained. “It damages democracy when the poorest – and that’s around 15 million people in Germany – experience the slightest relief.”

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”.

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. 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.” Greens 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.

Federal and state resolutions

Source: Stern

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