Berlin froze major spending commitments after the national off-budget fund was declared unconstitutional
Limits on electricity and gas prices will not be extended until March 2024 as previously planned, but will expire at the end of this year, Deutschlandfunk radio station has cited Finance Minister Christian Lindner as saying in an interview to be aired on Sunday.
“As of December 31 of this year the Economic and Stabilization Fund will be closed,” Lindner said. “There will be no more payouts from this. The electricity and gas price brakes will also be terminated.”
Lindner did not clarify whether energy support would be provided via the regular budget in 2024. The financial support scheme was introduced to protect households and businesses from soaring prices of gas and electricity after Germany, along with many other EU member states, opted to slash energy imports from Russia after the outbreak of the military conflict in Ukraine.
Earlier this month, the European Commission called on Berlin to phase out its price caps as soon as possible.
The decision comes days after the German Constitutional Court blocked the federal government’s move to transfer €60 billion ($66 billion) from funds initially earmarked to tackle the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, to other projects.
The fund – known by its German abbreviation WSF – is one of the country’s 29 such non-budget institutions, worth around €870 billion.
The ruling has jeopardised funding for plans to modernise the German economy and fight climate change. The decision by the country’s top court could also set a precedent for fiscal responses to future crises.
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