German parliament approves €200 billion energy aid plan – POLITICO

Germany’s parliament on Friday voted to adopt the government’s proposal for a 200 billion euro fund to ease gas prices, a move that has sparked tensions with other EU countries .

The plan comes as industry and consumers grapple with soaring energy prices. Private households could benefit from a price cap at 80% of their usual consumption from March. The price cap for large companies will come into effect in January.

This decision is only possible by suspending the debt brake, enshrined in the country’s constitution. It limits the federal government’s structural net borrowing to 0.35% of GDP. However, it can be suspended “in the event of an exceptional emergency”.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz tweeted that it was a “green light” for the measure, which he called a “double-kaboom”.

“This is good news for anyone looking at their utility costs with concern. And for trades and businesses,” he said.

Details of how the plan will work have yet to be finalized.

The German initiative plan, which was not jointly agreed at EU level, has drawn heavy criticism, with countries and Brussels fearing it could distort the bloc’s internal market by giving German companies access to cheaper energy than their rivals.

European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton called for “shared tools at European level” and French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire warned: “We risk breaking up the euro zone” if countries do not coordinate their strategies to deal with the energy crisis.


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