Bavarian state premier Markus Söder has demanded massive measures to combat the economic impact of the Coronavirus, among them a suspension of a fee to finance the expansion of renewable power (EEG surcharge) in Germany and a tax on electricity.
Söder is also the head of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), and one of Germany’s most powerful politicians.
The politician in recent weeks had pushed through many measures to slow the spread of the Coronavirus in Bavaria first that little later were adopted all over Germany.
Out of the about €0.30 ($0.32) German consumers currently pay for a kilowatt of electricity, €0.06756 are paid for the EEG surcharge, and €0.0205 in electricity tax. Taxes and fees on electricity (there are also grid and offshore wind fees) combined make up about three quarters of the power price, which is one of the highest in the world.
Suspending the renewables surcharge and energy tax (for initially three months) would help many businesses and households weather the expected downturn, Söder said in the Bavarian parliament, according to the dpa news agency.
He also demanded an aid package of €100-150bn by the federal government in Europe’s largest economy.
Bavaria is one of Germany’s hardest hit states by the Coronavirus, with some 2,282 cases and 10 deaths, according to the state premier, who also said a lockdown of the entire state may be necessary if people don’t stick enough to social distancing rules.
“More people will die, this is not the flu,” he said.
All of Germany on Thursday at noon had 13.093 cases of the virus, with 31 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.
Covid-19 is the respiratory illness caused by the novel Coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2.
The country’s mortality rate from Covid-19 is lower than in most of the world, but Söder said the country’s health system will only cope with the “stress test” if infection rates slow down.
Chancellor Merkel in a public broadcast Wednesday also hinted at more drastic measures to slow down public life in case current measures don’t have the desired effect.
Deutsche Bank according to Reuters expects the Germany economy to shrink between 4-5% this year, with industrial output possibly plunging by 10%.
Germany is home to manufacturing facilities by wind power OEMs Siemens-Gamesa, Nordex, GE and Enercon.