Germany to launch 9-euro public transport ticket and fuel price support
Der Spiegel / Clean Energy Wire
The German parliament and the Council of Federal States (Bundesrat) have given the go-ahead to several measures proposed by the government to reduce pressure on citizens caused by rapidly rising energy prices, including a discount at the petrol pump and the controversial nine-euro public transport ticket, news magazine Der Spiegel reported. Chancellor Olaf Scholz of the Social Democrats (SPD) said the measures were aimed at helping citizens “directly, quickly and in a goal-oriented way” by enabling commuters and others to retain their mobility at lower costs. The reduced monthly public transport fare is supposed to be in place for three months, from June until the end of August -- a measure that will cost the government about 2.5 billion euros. Energy taxes on fuel will be reduced for the same period, which will cut petrol prices by about 0.3 euros per litre. Transport minister Volker Wissing of the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) called the nine-euro ticket a “golden opportunity” for making public transport more accepted in the country, whereas politicians from the conservative opposition CDU said it would be an “expensive experiment” that will hurt public transport companies’ financial stability.
The measure and other energy price support payments to citizens contribute to Germany having to take on new debt worth about 140 billion euros, parliament announced. The parliament’s budget committee approved total expenditure in 2022 of nearly half a trillion euros, while taxes on many goods have been reduced, meaning state earnings will likely be reduced. According to price comparison website Verivox, the government’s measures will not suffice for completely shielding citizens from high energy prices. Average annual energy expenditures per household in the country would climb to over 2,400 euros this year, while the government’s support package only covers about 1,030 euros, Verivox said.