In social networks, images are gaining ground: motorists photograph the prices of gasoline pumps. Above all, diesel prices, which have far exceeded two euros per liter, are causing outrage.
The region’s economy has also been affected by war-induced gasoline and gas price increases. “Companies that produce a lot of energy are particularly affected by the current situation,” says Burkhard Rhein, head of the energy policy department of the Berlin-Brandenburg business associations. This applies, for example, to mechanical engineering, the chemical industry or plastics processing.
“Anyone who buys a Fritz-Box buys a housing made from injection molding,” says Rhein. “For this purpose, the plastic granules were melted at a temperature of 200 to 400 degrees and pressed into shape.” Such production processes require large amounts of energy. “Another example is baked goods manufacturers that produce long-lasting baked goods or cookies. They are just as worried about rising wheat prices as they are about rising energy costs.”
Especially since many companies cannot pass on the costs to their customers. “Anyone who works in the construction industry can have the opportunity to do it,” says Rhein. This is also related to the growing demand for construction services. “Anyone who works in the food industry, where a highly concentrated trade of three or four companies covers the market, has a bad hand.” A medium-sized company is in a very bad negotiating position if it wants to impose its prices on Aldi, Lidl, Rewe or Edeka. “The state should relieve the companies here,” demands Rhein.
“Costs are rising, but prices remain the same”
The situation in the transport industry is even worse, says Gerd Bretschneider, managing director of the transport trade union. Almost 400 road transport companies and around 100 passenger transport companies belong to his association in Brandenburg and Berlin.
[Wenn Sie alle aktuellen Nachrichten live auf Ihr Handy haben wollen, empfehlen wir Ihnen unsere App, die Sie hier für Apple- und Android-Geräte herunterladen können.]
“Costs are going up, but prices are staying the same,” says Bretschneider. “For freight forwarders who have a fixed contract with a customer, it is difficult to enforce rising prices.” But in long-distance transportation, fuel costs represent 25 to 35 percent of total costs. If the price of diesel increases by 30 to 50 percent, there will be a significant cost effect.
CDU: “We need a reduction in the oil tax”
Demands for tax cuts are rising in the politics of the state of Brandenburg. “We need a reduction in the oil tax,” says the chairman of the economic committee of the Brandenburg state parliament, MP Frank Bommert (CDU). The owner of a metal construction company in the Oberhavel district is also a member of the board of directors of the Potsdam Chamber of Crafts. “We’re very busy with shop work at the moment,” says Bommert. “But as soon as we get back to the construction site, we’re going to feel higher fuel costs every day.”
[Alle aktuellen Entwicklungen aus der Ukraine und Berlin lesen Sie jeden Morgen ab 6 Uhr in unserem Tagesspiegel-Newsletter Checkpoint. Jetzt hier kostenlos abonnieren.]
order now for free
In addition, Bommert knows carriers who travel on fixed contracts. “They don’t get out of there,” says Bommert. “When signing a contract, no one expects fuel prices to rise that much during the contract period.”
SPD MP Helmut Barthel also spoke in favor of lowering taxes on fuels and natural gas in the short term. “Therefore, the federal government must quickly make a decision on the emergency,” Barthel said. Otherwise, one quickly finds oneself in the area of forbidden help.
The left wants to reduce VAT, because of travelers
On the other hand, the left-wing parliamentarian, Andreas Büttner, calls for a VAT reduction. Templin’s politician thinks less about business and more about travelers. “The 19 percent can no longer be justified at these prices, especially since the state budget has benefited from higher revenue for months,” said Büttner. However, emergency aid is also needed for small and medium-sized businesses, which are particularly affected by energy prices.
The Brandenburg Chamber of Crafts also called for a package of measures on Friday. “Pandemic restrictions, material price increases, high energy costs and drastically rising fuel prices are putting pressure on the entire German economy,” said its chairman Robert Wüst. “Many companies keep the lion’s share of the inflation.”