As Europe struggles with inadequate supplies in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Germany has unveiled a €65bn (£56.2bn) package of steps to mitigate the threat of rising energy bills.
The program will offer tax incentives to energy-intensive enterprises and one-time payments to the most disadvantaged.
Since the invasion in February, energy prices have skyrocketed, and Europe has been trying to wean itself off of energy imports from Russia. Ukraine has asked Europe to maintain its resolve.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky recently claimed that Russia is actively working to disrupt everyone’s daily lives in Europe. Saturday night he warned that Russia was planning a “decisive energy attack on all Europeans,” and that only European unity could prevent it.
Also, Olena, his wife, remarked that if there was more international backing for Ukraine, the country’s current situation would last much less time. Despite the difficulty of the rising cost of living, she pointed out that the Ukrainian people were paying with their lives.
There will be a breaking point in the coming months, EU officials have warned, when countries start to face acute economic pain while still being requested to aid the Ukrainian military and humanitarian effort, as reported by the website Politico.
Discontent is beginning to show, as on Sunday, demonstrators in Prague, the Czech capital, rallied against high energy costs and called for an end to sanctions against Russia. The police estimated that 70,000 persons, mostly from the extreme right and extreme left groups, attended.
Lubmin, in northeastern Germany, is the terminal of the Nord Stream gas pipeline from Russia. They wanted the German government to unblock the new pipeline Nord Stream 2 so it could go online before the invasion.
The Russian government said two days ago that it will permanently halt gas deliveries to Germany via the already operational Nord Stream 1 pipeline.
Since the standoff with Russia began, countries like Germany have had to look elsewhere for supplies. As a result, the country’s stockpiles have climbed from 46% full in June to 84% full today.
While admitting that Russia is “no longer a reliable energy supplier,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz assured the press that his country will survive the winter.
He declared that the government will provide lump sums to retirees, welfare recipients, and college students. Costs for producing and distributing energy would be capped as well.
Tax incentives totaling €1.7bn would be provided to about 9,000 energy-intensive firms. In addition, Mr. Scholz suggested that a windfall tax on the earnings of energy companies will be used to reduce costs.