Europe

European leaders announce new relief plans as energy crisis deepens

Germany has announced it will invest an additional €65 billion in a new round of measures aimed at easing the sting of inflation and high energy prices for consumers.

“Germany stands together in a difficult time. As a country, we will get through this difficult time,” Chancellor Olaf Scholz said at a Sunday news conference with leaders from the Greens and the pro-business FDP, the two coalition partners of his center-left Social Democrats.

Among the measures announced are additional one-time payments to help consumers cover energy costs, a planned price cap on a basic amount of energy consumption for families and individuals, and a successor to the country’s popular “9-euro ticket” for nationwide public transit.

Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson has been on the campaign trail a week before the national election to tackle fears over gang violence and rising electricity bills.

Sweden, along with Finland, has taken historic steps in applying to join NATO. That step has reassured many, and is so uncontested it hasn’t been an issue in the campaign before the election.

Andersson said that Russia’s energy “warfare” against Europe, including halting supplies indefinitely through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany, has become an issue that voters keep raising with her as she campaigns for her left-wing Swedish Democratic party.

“Many people are concerned with their electricity bills given Putin’s warfare on energy,” she said in comments to The Associated Press.

“I mean he has a military invasion in Ukraine, but he also has energy warfare against Europe, so people are very concerned with electricity bills but also with criminality and climate.”

Her government pledged Saturday to provide €23 billion in liquidity guarantees to electricity companies, a step that followed the cut-off to Nord Stream 1 meant to prevent a financial crisis.

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