Although Germans are struggling with soaring bills and inflation, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner says he sees little prospect of providing the public with additional relief, pointing to all the aid given so far and the national deficit.
Lindner said up to €200 billion ($212 billion) was available for price caps and hardship aid, when asked whether Germany had reached the end of the line when it comes to relief. “We will use the money in the coming years,” he told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung newspaper on Friday.
The government is also providing €50 billion in tax relief for citizens through to 2024, he said. “We therefore have an enormous general government financing deficit next year. We have gone to the limit, I will not go over it.”
He was referring to price brakes on energy prices designed to help companies and households cope with higher prices as Germany weans itself off cheap Russian gas.
Germany was heavily dependent on energy from Moscow but hastened to find other sources since the Kremlin attacked Ukraine.
Lindner said the price caps could dampen inflation, but that, in the longer term, Germany would have to find a way to restore its prosperity all over again.
“We are just getting collectively poorer. We must therefore strengthen our competitiveness so that our economy is able to pay higher wages by selling higher-quality products and services.”
Those revenues must be generated before they can be distributed, he said.