Frank Plasberg (ARD) is dealing with the question: too expensive gas, not enough electricity – does nuclear power have to run longer?
Berlin – In Frank Plasberg’s “Hart aber fair” program on September 12, 2022, things went back and forth hectically. In the end, the moderator said goodbye to his guests on ARD with “Thank you for this energetic discussion” and hit the nail on the head. Those present were Tarek Al-Wazir, Hessian Economics Minister and B’90/Greens politician, economist Prof. Dr. Stefan Kooths, business journalist Hermann-Josef Tenhagen, Gitta Connemann, CDU member of parliament and federal chair of the SME and Economic Union, MIT, and Caterina Künne, owner of a bakery chain in Hanover. The topic that stirred tempers was the increase in energy costs.
Künne was given a lot of space for her less than optimistic descriptions of the future of her company. The trained teacher was able to report that the energy costs for her family-run bakery chain would increase tenfold from next January. “My heart is extremely heavy,” said Künne, which threatened her existence because she could not pass on the additional costs to customers. The prices for the baked goods have already increased, but “we have many regular customers who say they can no longer afford it,” she explained. In this way, bread becomes a luxury product, “but we want to remain a basic supplier,” she added, and added quite desperately to “Hart aber fair” on ARD: “I have no answer and I don’t get any from politics either.”
“Hard but fair” (ARD): The CDU government led Germany into an energy crisis
During the show at Frank Plasberg she shouldn’t get any. The round got lost again and again in mutual accusations, with the most violent argument taking place in particular between the two politicians Al-Wazir and Connemann. Al-Wazir kept coming back to the fact that the former government under the CDU, to which Connemann belonged, had led Germany into this devastating energy crisis in the first place because it was to blame for slowing down the climate change. “I find it unfair,” he said, that the current government is being treated in this way when “they have repaired more in the last 6 months than the others have in the previous 10 years.” So it’s easy, Al-Wazir went on to say rather rudely, to act as if one had “eaten wisdom with spoons”.
- “Hard but fair” in the first. The guests of the show:
- Tarek Al-Wazir (B’90/Greens, Hessian Economics Minister)
- Gitta Connemann (CDU, Member of Parliament; Federal Chair of the SME and Economic Union, MIT)
- Prof. Dr. Stefan Kooths (Economist; Vice President of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, IfW Kiel)
- Caterina Künne (owner of a bakery chain in Hanover)
- Hermann-Josef Tenhagen (business journalist; editor-in-chief of the consumer guide “Finanztip”)
Apart from the pointless squabbling between Al-Wazir and Connemann, there was talk about the possible concrete measures that the government could take to relieve the population and industry. Before it came to the planned electricity price brake in Germany, business journalist Hermann-Josef Tenhagen made it clear how the situation differs between commercial companies and private households. The increases affect companies more massively, because they used to get electricity and gas cheaper, “now they have to pay market prices,” he said. And he drew attention to the urgency of the situation on “Hart aber fair” on ARD: “There are industries where solutions have to be found, otherwise half will be lost.”
“Hard but fair” (ARD) with Frank Plasberg: Gas allocation must be stopped
Bakery owner Künne could only agree. She also pointed out that an electricity price brake would not do her much good because the costs for gas were higher. The difference between electricity and gas, explained Al-Wazir, is that with electricity, the state can skim off any excess profits from retailers and pass them on to consumers. With gas it is different. The traders tend to post losses here, the producers win here, but that is not easy to absorb. Nevertheless, the government is responsible, said Connemann, “the gas levy must be stopped, that can be decisive for companies.” In addition, the problem must be “structurally approached,” she said to Frank Plasberg on ARD and defended it the gas price cap idea of the CDU.
She could hardly say it and was then interrupted several times not only by Al-Wazir, but also by Tenhagen in her explanations, with the incredulous, almost malicious question “Who is going to pay for that?” Connemann’s answer was simple: the state, through the budget funds. “The state gains from inflation,” she said. He must pass this on to the consumer. For the economist Prof. Dr. For Stefan Kooths this is too short-sighted. You shouldn’t make the mistake of believing that things will happen like they did during the corona pandemic. It is not certain whether one can continue with the same economic structures. Although prices would eventually normalize, they would remain at a new, higher level, he pointed out. Since it is the task of the state to develop a bridging strategy for the next five years, he demanded on “Hart aber fair” on ARD.
To the broadcast
“Hard but fair” with Frank Plasberg. The broadcast from September 12, 2022, 9:15 p.m. in the ARD Meditathek
“Hard but fair” (ARD): Supply with renewable energies necessary
In view of this thought, the entire argument that had previously been fought between those present regarding the possibility of continuing to operate three of the still active nuclear power plants, which are to be shut down at the end of the year, for the time being for three, maybe four months, seemed pointless. Kooths said that was just a “symbolic issue” and played Connemann into the cards, which Al-Wazir accused on behalf of the Greens that he was only against the continued operation for “ideological” reasons and was unable to see the seriousness of the situation . Temporary continued operation is necessary for Connemann. After all, they supplied 10 million households with electricity and prevented a further increase in the price of electricity, “because otherwise there would be no further supply”.
Whether the nuclear power plants actually had too little influence on the continued supply of electricity, as Al-Wazir claimed, whether they posed a safety risk because they were not adequately maintained, as Tenhagen feared, does not matter that much. The important question here seems to be what will help in the medium term, not just in the next three to four months. But only the long-term perspective was agreed that evening at “Hart aber fair” on ARD: the need to further expand the supply of renewable energies. (Teresa Vena)