05 Jun 2020, 13:22
Sven Egenter

German stimulus plan “watershed moment” in relations to car industry - media

Tageszeitung (taz) / Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung / Süddeutsche Zeitung

The German government’s decision to focus its 130 billion euro economic stimulus programme on future, more climate-friendly technologies such as e-cars and to snub the carmakers lobby was a watershed moment for the industry and the country, commentators in German media said. The fact that the governing coalition rejected the call for a general buyer’s premium that included combustion engine cars showed that the “almost unlimited power of the car lobby has been broken”, writes Malte Kreutzfeldt in left-leaning daily taz. The sums and ambitions in the plan were still too small to tackle the climate crisis. But in light of the discussions in the run-up the programme was a positive surprise from an ecological point of view. 

Many commentators took a largely positive view of the plans, noting the general shift away from the dominant tight fiscal policy of the past decade. However, Heike Göbel, for leading conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine, called the package “oversized”. She also criticised that the decision to lower the renewables levy with support from the federal budget failed to fix the underlying problem. Göbel also applauded the decision to stay away from a buyer’s premium for cars. Max Hägler argued in Süddeutsche Zeitung that car managers had sealed their own fate by calling for state support while still defending payouts to shareholders. 

Economists and researchers had welcomed the focus on climate-friendly technologies but, like NGOs, had criticised that the government missed the opportunity to fully align the programme with climate targets. Aside from comprehensive actions such as reducing the value-added tax to boost domestic demand, the programme will lower levies on power prices for households and small businesses, provide additional funding for public transport, and establish a 50 billion euro “future package” for investments in fields such as future mobility and hydrogen technologies.

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