Energy: "Economy" dampens expectations of gas price brakes

The chairwoman of the gas price commission, Veronika Grimm, has warned against having too high expectations of the planned gas price brake.

Energy: "Economy" dampens expectations of gas price brakes

The chairwoman of the gas price commission, Veronika Grimm, has warned against having too high expectations of the planned gas price brake. "We will permanently end our dependence on Russia," said the economics professor at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg to the newspapers of the Funke media group (Friday).

"Due to the higher liquid gas procurement prices, the gas price will remain significantly higher than before the Russian attack on Ukraine, despite a gas price brake," says Grimm. The Commission cannot pretend that nothing happened.

According to Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner, households in Germany will have to wait a few more days for the concept of the planned gas price brake. "We'll have clarity next week or the week after next at the latest," the FDP politician told radio station 105.5 Spreeradio on Friday. "It's not an easy task." To do it well, a little preparatory time will be needed with the commission of experts and practitioners.

Grimm: A one-time payment would rather contribute to savings

A commission of experts set up by the federal government is to present recommendations for the design of the price brake. At a retreat this weekend, the commission wants to develop a "resilient proposal" and hand it over to politicians. The co-chairman of the SPD, Lars Klingbeil, said on Thursday that the commission would present "a clever model" on Monday.

The economist Grimm campaigned for a gas price brake in the form of a one-off payment. "It will be important to have a high incentive to save. That would clearly be the case with a one-off payment," she said. "One would have a much smaller incentive to save if one were to lower the gas price by a certain percentage." If you gave people a one-time payment, they would still get a lot out of using less gas.

Commissioner Karen Pittel, head of the Ifo Center for Energy, Climate and Resources, thinks a two-stage model is likely. Pittel said on ZDF that the Commission would first propose a "short-term solution" to quickly relieve the burden on citizens and companies. The committee then has until the end of the month to work out longer-term implementation options. Pittel said she was in favor of subsidizing a "certain basic consumption".

Warning of even more scarcity through the lid

The traffic light coalition of SPD, Greens and FDP recently announced a "defense shield" to support consumers and companies because of rising energy prices. A gas price brake is intended to cap the prices for at least part of consumption in such a way that private households and companies are not overwhelmed.

The economic policy spokesman for the EPP group in the European Parliament, Markus Ferber (CSU), is skeptical. Such a cap harbors the risk that suppliers would prefer to sell their gas to other parts of the world, Ferber said on rbb24 Inforadio. This could lead to even more scarcity and thus even higher prices. "What initially appears to be a simple tool and a simple solution can quickly become a boomerang."

In the "Wirtschaftswoche" newspaper, economist Gabriel Felbermayr warned of a "subsidy race" in Europe. "And then in the end we have high subsidies everywhere, too few savings effects and a further increase in gas prices."

Giffey wants a quick decision

Commission chairwoman Grimm complained about the time pressure to which the committee was exposed. "The decision to convene such a body could have been made a few months ago, after all, the development of gas prices was foreseeable," she said.

Berlin's governing mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) said on ZDF: "We have an emergency situation. We must now prevent people from going bankrupt, into bankruptcy and from companies not continuing." Speed ​​has priority. The gas price cap will certainly be necessary for two years or longer.

In the face of sharply rising consumer prices, Lindner said: "We will lose prosperity as a society." The reason is the higher cost of energy imports. "It won't be as cheap as it was last year or the year before last."