Germany: “It will be cold in winter”, warns Habeck – The plan for public buildings, monuments


“When prices rise, the state automatically gets more revenue – for example from VAT on electricity and natural gas. This money should be used for relief,” the German economy minister told Süddeutsche Zeitung.

“Pool weather, tropical nights – Real cold seems infinitely far away in the days Germany is going through now. But the federal government is preparing for a winter in which everyone will literally have to dress warmly. It is already clear: It will be cold in the country.” With these words she prefaces her front page Süddeutsche Zeitung of Munich, the extensive interview given by Prasinos, Minister of Economy and Energy Robert Hambeck.

According to Robert Habeck, the regulatory decrees for the implementation of the revised are already being prepared Law on Energy Security in Germany, which, among other things, foresee a maximum heating temperature for 186,000 public buildings at 19 degrees Celsius as well as a suspension of the night-time illumination of historical monuments in Germany. “These are preparations for a winter in which natural gas will arrive at a reduced flow and prices will increase more and more”the newspaper observes.

“Mr. Habeck are you really afraid of autumn?”

The interview begins with this question, with the German minister answering: “No I’m not afraid. Fear is a paralyzing emotion. But of course I am worried about social cohesion, about industry and citizens. These are unusual times with great challenges. The biggest challenge is to steer the country well through all of this.”

Robert Habeck mainly focuses on those categories of citizens in Germany – which are many – who will hardly be able to get by in the winter due to the increased energy prices. “Those living on average on little money or on welfare or housing benefit should be completely exempt from additional energy costs, proportionally that is low and middle incomes. This is the logic by which we must act. This gives us an opportunity to face the winter strong and united” says the German minister.

The German “money is there”

Amidst the general uncertainty about the evolution of the natural gas price in the following months SZ journalists ask the minister whether the German state has the financial means to deal with the situation.

“When prices rise, the state automatically gets more revenue – for example from VAT on electricity and natural gas. This money should be used for relief” says Robert Hambeck, adding: “It’s no secret, I believe that some companies that are making big profits because of the war could contribute more. A critical debate has begun on this. But if we are asking whether there is enough money, I would like to point out: there is money. That is, money that companies or energy system operators did not even expect to receive. Part of this should be able to be used for the relief of consumers.”

What will happen to nuclear power plants?

Among other things, Robert Hambeck received questions about the possibility of extending the operation of the three remaining nuclear plants beyond December 31 – the date on which they are scheduled to be closed.

He answered indirectly: “The debate about nuclear power plants should not hide the fact that we have to make huge efforts to achieve gas savings. Nuclear power plants don’t make a difference. What we test again and again is the stability of the power grid under extreme cases. This is the stress test we are doing” while announcing that the results of these tests are expected “in a few weeks” and not on December 30th.

DW / Dimitra Kyranoudis, Berlin (Interview: SZ)

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