Don’t pay the gas surcharge? What activists are planning in Germany – and what experts are saying now


  • Max Muller

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  • Fabian Hartmann

    Fabian Hartmann

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Radical groups expect ‘hot autumn’ and ‘winter of fury’ in Germany amid rising prices. With protests, riots, violent riots. But how likely is that?

Berlin/Cologne – “I know people,” says Christoph Gärtner, “they don’t give a damn how high the gas tax is: they won’t pay it anyway.” Gärtner is 72, educated and now retired. He is politically affiliated with the German Marxist-Leninist Party (MLDP) in Solingen. He is sure it will be a fierce winter.

Social unrest, protests, resistance – the terms are different, but they mean the same thing: It threatens social explosives. For many, the prospect sounds ominous to Christoph Gärtner: “We have to be able to channel the outrage properly.” He firmly believes that “a lot of people will take to the streets – at the latest when the first additional payments arrive. “.

Statements like Christoph Gärtner’s are worrying politicians and security authorities. In Germany, something can ripen after the summer. Groups on the left and right may seek to capitalize on anger over skyrocketing energy costs, inflation and economic uncertainty.

Gas surcharge and inflation: Foreign minister Baerbock warns of ‘popular uprisings’

Various statements show how great the fear of protests and even social unrest is. The Minister of Foreign Affairs warned Annalena Baerbock (Greens) against “popular uprisings”. Federal Minister of Home Affairs Nancy Faeser (SPD) does not rule out new demonstrations. Stephan Kramer, head of Thuringia’s Constitutional Protection Service, even fears that previous protests over the coronavirus will look like “children’s birthday parties”. What will happen to the country?

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“Of course there are valid reasons to protest,” Sebastian Hartmann, an interior expert at the SPD’s parliamentary group, says in an interview. FR.de outside IPPEN.MEDIA. This includes Hartmann’s anger at high energy and mobility costs. These are things that people simply have no alternative to. It becomes dangerous when extremist groups try to disrupt these demonstrations and deliberately incite fear.

“Sometimes the right asks the right questions. But they always give wrong answers with hatred and excitement,” says the SPD politician. That’s why it’s so important to provide relief to low- and middle-income people. To take the wind out of the sails of radical groups now. Hartmann does not want to take the word “Wutwinter” as his own. But he also knows that if prices continue to rise, citizens who were previously invisible could join the protest.

“Hot Autumn” and “Wicked Winter”: What role does the price of gas play?

The price of gas is a concern. According to the Federal Statistical Office, it grew by almost 164 percent during the year. The industry laments that failed supplies from Russia have left energy companies like Uniper reeling as they have to buy gas at much higher prices on the world market. In order to distribute the increased costs as fairly as possible, politicians came up with a gas surcharge. As of October 1, it will be 2.419 cents per kilowatt hour. That doesn’t sound like much. However, by extrapolation, this means an additional burden of about 480 euros for a family of four. And this at a time when inflation has not yet peaked. To at least ease the burden on citizens, the federal government wants to reduce the value-added tax on natural gas from the current 19 percent to 7 percent.

Activist Christoph Gärtner: “And now they want even more?”

© Heiko Group

But the truth is: it will cost more in the end. MLDP activist Gärtner does not see the fact that Germans should pay more. “The five largest energy companies have 62.5 billion made in the second quarter of 2022. And now they want even more subsidies from our tax money?” While other European countries, such as France or Italy, make those companies responsible with an excessive profit tax, which has used cheap energy for many years, in Germany it catches everyone again”, the activist. Gärtner also supports the idea of ​​limiting gas bills independently.

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