BERLIN, Sept 4 — The German government today agreed a €65-billion (US$65-billion) plan to ease the pressure on households as Russian gas supplies dwindle and energy bills soar, according to a policy paper seen by AFP.
“Timely and proportionate relief for citizens and businesses is necessary due to the rapidly increasing burden of high energy prices,” Germany’s coalition partners said in the document, adding that the total package came to “over €65 billion”.
The measures include a one-off payment of €300 to millions of pensioners to help them cover rising energy bills.
The government will also target students with a smaller one-off payment of €200, and a heating cost payment for people receiving housing benefits.
The announcement follows two previous relief packages totalling €30 billion, which included a reduction in the tax on petrol and a popular heavily subsidised public transport ticket.
Under the agreement, the government earmarks €1.5 billion for work on a successor to the nine-euro monthly ticket on local and regional transport networks, though the price would likely be higher.
Berlin, for years reliant on Russian energy imports to meet its needs, has been acutely exposed to energy price rises as supplies from Moscow dwindle.
German inflation rose again to 7.9 per cent in August, after falling for two months under the influence of government relief measures.
The take-off in energy prices is expected to push inflation in Germany and the eurozone to around 10 per cent by the end of the year, its highest rate in decades.
The government’s latest relief package came two days after Russian energy giant Gazprom said it would not restart gas deliveries via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline yesterday as planned after a three-day maintenance. — AFP