Claus P. Baumeister: To the Easter package

Comment by EUROSOLAR curator Claus P. Baumeister.
Against my opinion with much advance laurels (also from ES) equipped new traffic light government fails unfortunately from my view on whole line. This includes feeling mimosely snubbed when our Federal President is disinvited by his Ukrainian counterpart. I have great sympathy for this undiplomatic approach by the Ukrainians. They have been sticking their necks out for free democratic societies for almost two months, sacrificing thousands of lives and putting away trillions in damage to their cities and infrastructure. And we send our president, who cannot provide substantial aid (e.g., in the form of heavy weapons), but was instrumental in the SPD-Schröder-Putin connection for over a decade.

This political blunder of the previous governments including their Chancellor Merkel cannot be dismissed with misunderstood “bridge building”. It was absolutely irresponsible to put our state in such a dependency on the increasingly totalitarian and aggresive Russia and even to strengthen it after the Crimea annexation in 2014. Oddly enough, Chancellor Scholz is not really resented for this. After all, he was involved for years both as finance minister and as a “member” of the SPD-Schröder-Putin connection, downplaying Nord Stream 2 as “private sector” and ultimately stopping it far too late. Most of the time he has no clear opinion (where is the policy competence?), just reads off and parrots any statements repeatedly. He blocked arms deliveries to Ukraine for a long time, just as he is now again blocking the urgently needed delivery of heavy weapons to counter Putin’s war of annihilation with something more than the tough morals of the Ukrainians.

It is shameful to me that Germany is also rightly perceived as a brakeman with regard to effective sanctions. What are 2-6% (depending on the glass ball of the economic institutes) GDP loss against the suffering of the Ukrainians? And who says Putin will stop there? By the way, we should not lose sight of the other powerful dictator Xi, who detests Western democracies but is happy to let you pay for China’s rising prosperity.

I plead for an absolute embargo, i.e. to stop any business with Russia immediately and not to differentiate arbitrarily according to products, individual banks and types of energy. We can stand that. We are a rich country that at best has a distribution problem. Moreover, such a measure would dramatically increase the pressure for energy transformation as well as supply chain realignment.

And now we are on the topic of energy and the exuberantly announced and last week well staged “Easter package” presented by BM Habeck with a big pile of paper, similar to the chart “parade” at the beginning of his term. But where is the substance? Is the sheer mass of 650 pages of paper a guarantee of well thought-out solutions? Hardly – rather the opposite is true. Once again, keep-it-simple does not work for the lawyers involved. One discovers even more legal quibbles than already present in the EEG, tighter but still abstract expansion targets, mostly without instruments to enforce them, with even more arbitrary delimitations, unfair regulations (why should full feed-in be treated better than excess feed-in?) and virtually no reduction in bureaucracy. In the case of wind power, the rigid regulations and project brakes are still not off the table, and for small-scale PV on private roofs there are no significant improvements that could develop a real dynamic, although the topic of PV alone already fills 270 pages of the Easter paper.

Some misguided subsidies are being cut back, but too few and too late. For the time being, internal combustion engines continue to be promoted in the form of heavy hybrids instead of finally forcing the car industry to undergo the necessary transformation. Instead of preaching about the alleged loss of 300,000 jobs, they should diversify themselves, e.g. manufacture batteries or PV systems, or support employees in retraining in these industries.