Habeck debacle with KfW funding: Lindner is now making promises


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From: Bedrettin Bölükbaşı

After the suspension of KfW funding by Economics Minister Habeck, Finance Minister Lindner “does not want to let those affected down”. © Michael Kappeler/dpa

The traffic light coalition is looking for a solution to the funding stop for efficiency houses. Federal Finance Minister Lindner promises to provide help to those affected.

February 1 update: Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) has pleaded for restraint in state aid after the compromise on funding for builders. “Subsidies from the state budget must remain limited,” he told the German Press Agency on Tuesday. Future funding programs will therefore focus on projects “that do not already meet the usual building standards”. The funds should be used more efficiently.

At the same time, Lindner emphasized that it was “a question of fairness and legal certainty” not to leave private builders and municipal and cooperative projects out in the rain. For this reason, the applications for funding for energy-efficient buildings that have already been submitted should also be processed. Reopening the program for new applications is “not responsible to the taxpayers”.

First report: Munich – On Monday last week (January 24) Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) surprisingly announced the suspension of KfW funding for so-called efficiency houses and renovations. Now the construction of these houses should no longer be financially supported. Thousands of builders and property owners didn’t even have time to adjust, because it was an “immediate” stop in funding. They now have to worry about their construction or renovation projects.

The traffic light coalition of SPD, FDP and Greens is now looking for a solution to create a new program to replace the funding. Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) now wants to campaign for new funding and “not abandon” affected families and private individuals. A few days ago he called for a new program.

Habeck stops KfW funding: Lindner thinks the decision is right – but doesn’t want to “let it down”

Lindner wants to support private builders and families with a new grant. “According to my information, there are a good 4,000 families and private individuals,” Lindner told the magazine Spiegel. “We won’t let them down,” he promised. If the coalition agrees on this, he will make it possible for there to be further funding. After all, his goal is “that the dream of owning your own four walls can become a reality for more people”.

However, Lindner also spoke about the deficits of the now suspended program. “In principle, the decision was right,” he assessed the funding stop. In some cases there were “free-rider effects”. He said the majority of the approximately 24,000 applications came from companies. In the market economy, it is not possible or sensible in the long term to “pay billions in subsidies to companies.”

According to Lindner, a boom was triggered, especially by property developers who still wanted to benefit from excessive subsidies. “You won’t hear a bad word from me about private pursuit of profit, but it must unfold in the competitive system beyond the state coffers,” emphasized the finance minister.

Habeck also defended the stop at the Green party conference on Friday. It was a “hard cut,” he said. A lot can still be promoted. But: “This program got completely out of hand, it was a takeaway, it was overfunded,” explained the Economics Minister. The cost of the funding had run up to 14 billion euros.

Habeck’s funding freeze could also affect students – dormitory places are probably “on the brink”

The suspension of KfW funding could not only affect private builders. It could also be tight for students due to the funding stop. The German Student Union warned of the loss of new dormitories. The federal government is “brutally putting the brakes on the construction of student dormitories,” said General Secretary Matthias Anbuhl Editorial network Germany. Around 2,700 new, affordable dormitory places are on the brink overnight.

Anbuhl called for the government to reverse the freeze and review all applications submitted before the end of January. The consequences would otherwise be “fatal,” he argued. “The housing shortage in the university towns will worsen, and the free choice of where to study threatens to become dependent on the parents’ wallets,” says Anbuhl. According to him, the funding freeze represents a deviation from the coalition agreement: “This thwarts the goal of the traffic light coalition, as enshrined in the coalition agreement, of creating more affordable housing for students.”

Ampel wants the end of the EEG surcharge from 2023 – but according to Finance Minister Lindner, it is already possible in the middle of the year

Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner also promised relief elsewhere. He thinks it is conceivable that the EEG levy on the electricity price could be abolished as early as this summer. “If the coalition agrees on this, then I would make it financially possible for the EEG surcharge to be dropped in the middle of the year,” Lindner said Spiegel. Previously, demands for faster relief had come from industry, the Union and the Association of Towns and Municipalities.

According to the coalition agreement of the traffic light parties SPD, FDP and Greens, the end of the EEG surcharge is actually not planned until 2023. “In view of the increased prices, I think an earlier abolition is necessary,” said Lindner. “That would be billions in relief for families, pensioners, recipients of student loans or basic security and medium-sized businesses and trades,” said the minister.

From the parliamentary space there is support from the parliamentary group leaders of the FDP and SPD. “I also see that as a work order,” said the FDP politician. When asked whether the Greens still needed to be convinced, he replied: “No, the goal is shared across parties. There are also voices from the Union. So we should do it.” Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) also recently said that the EEG surcharge should be reduced “as soon as possible” and “as far as possible”.

At the beginning of the year, the levy was reduced from 6.5 to 3.72 cents per kilowatt hour. The current plans of the traffic light coalition envisage that the levy on the electricity price will then be completely eliminated from 2023 and that the expansion of green electricity will be financed from budget funds. However, the left does not go far enough. The traffic light must relieve more, demanded financial expert Christian Görke. For this, “a temporary reduction in VAT on electricity, fuel and gas from 19 percent to 7 percent is an option”. (bb with material from AFP)


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