In a debate in the German Parliament, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that Germany has achieved something that no one predicted a few months ago: gas refineries are full.
The debate on next year’s budget in the Bundestag was heated. Not only the opposition parties, but also those of the government, accused each other of mistakes made in the past, especially in terms of energy policies.
Scholz said that in a very short time, Germany has broken away from dependence on Russian gas and is on track to overcome this winter. The Social Democrat chancellor was belligerent in the general budget debate and hit back at criticism from the opposition CDU/CSU.
He criticized previous CDU ministers who had blocked the expansion of energy capacity with liquefied gas terminals on the North Sea coast.
The German chancellor, who in the previous government under Angela Merkel was deputy and finance minister, said that it was the CDU ministers in this government who had blocked these plans of his.
Likewise, Scholz did not spare criticism for the CDU’s Bavarian sister, the Christian Social Union (CSU), which, according to the chancellor, had also blocked the construction of lines for the transmission of wind energy from the North of Germany to Bavaria. The Social Democratic chancellor called this a fatal mistake.
“It is good that you are in the opposition, so that we can manage the industrial development of the country and not avoid the problems of this country anymore”, said Scholz in the direction of the opposition.
Earlier, the leader of the opposition, Friedrich Merz, had also criticized the closure of the nuclear reactors according to the plan, which was reconfirmed by the Minister of Energy, Robert Habeck.
Merz had asked to leave the nuclear reactors in operation for another three or four years. He said the decision was a “bad compromise” and asked Scholz to put an end to this “madness”, which he said could irreversibly damage Germany’s image as a reliable business location.
Scholz told Merz that he was too fixated on atomic energy and defended the decision.
Even the package of reliefs was criticized by Merz, especially the aid of 300 euros that will be given to all employees in September, as compensation for the increase in gas prices, adding that it is better to support those who need it rather than giving 300 euros for everyone.
Scholz added that people are not naive and know that the state cannot prevent all the effects of the war, but reiterated that the government “will do everything possible to help companies and citizens to overcome these difficult times.”
In this context, he recalled the relief of 95 billion euros that helps families and companies and said that this is essential and that “anyone who claims otherwise is simply lying and wants to sow social discord”.
The chancellor was severely attacked by Merz for his behavior towards Ukraine. He accused the chancellor of indirectly prolonging Russia’s war against Ukraine by his reluctance not to send weapons.
Scholz said that Germany has supported Ukraine “very effectively even with the necessary heavy weapons”.
“We will continue to do this. This is our obligation for as long as necessary. But we will do it in cooperation with our partners”, he said.
At the start of today’s session, the Bundestag observed a minute’s silence in honor of the late former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, who made a significant contribution to the reunification of Germany in 1990.
Bundestag President Bärbel Bas said Gorbachev brought a new spirit to the Kremlin.
“Gorbachev was against violence. We are deeply hurt by the fact that everything he defended is being violated so openly today,” said Bas.
The German debate is discussing next year’s budget this week.
The budget of the Chancellor’s Office was debated for four straight hours. In the coming year, the expenses will be 3.67 billion euros, a lower amount compared to the 3.86 billion euros allocated for the current year.
While the income has increased to 166.5 million euros from 103.5 million euros. /DW/