July 7, 2008

Social Democrat Leader Urges Germans to Become Energy Conscious

Text of report by independent German news agency ddp

Berlin - According to Peter Struck, chairman of the SPD [Social Democratic Party of Germany] Bundestag Group, people in Germany have to counter the rising oil and gas prices by reducing their energy consumption. Struck told Berlin-based Tagesspiegel am Sonntag: "We must consume less energy and reduce our dependency on oil and gas by using renewable energy sources. We must also urge the people to become more energy-conscious."

At the same time, the SPD politician opposed tax reductions or direct transfers to relieve the burden of increased energy costs. "The oil price might continue to increase over the next few months; then we would lag behind this development," he said. Instead, Struck promised support for energy saving measures. Apart from extending support for energy saving programmes, the SPD Bundestag Group is examining "whether a tenant should be given the right to reduce the rent if the landlord does not take appropriate measures to save energy." In addition, it has to be clarified "whether low basic charges for the basic energy demand of average households are possible."

At the moment, Struck opposes the reintroduction of the old commuter allowance, which the CSU [Christian Social Union] and parts of the SPD have called for: "We have agreed in the coalition to wait for the Constitutional Court ruling, which is due in fall. This agreement is still valid." Struck also ruled out a reduction of the tax on oil or the eco tax.

Originally published by ddp news agency, Berlin, in German 2120 5 Jul 08.

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