Germany outlines ‘modernization drive’ with virus stimulus package

German politicians on Thursday gave further details of how a massive stimulus package worth 130 billion euros (146 billion dollars) would help economy through what is expected to be the worst recession in post-war history.

“We want to come out of the crisis with oomph,” said Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, announcing a raft of measures agreed by the governing coalition late on Wednesday.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government said the 130 billion stimulus to be paid out this year and next would encompass a ‘modernization drive,’ with boosts for families and local authorities, reductions in energy prices and value-added tax (VAT).

“With this power package, we are living up to our great responsibility for the future viability of our country,” Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the leader of Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) told dpa.

Education Minister Anja Karliczek told dpa that almost half the funds had been earmarked for future-orientated industries including artificial intelligence, quantum and hydrogen technologies.

Another major focus will be climate-friendly technologies.

“We must combine the way out of the corona(virus) crisis with a reorientation of our economy towards climate neutrality,” said Environment Minister Svenja Schulze on Twitter. “I am very glad that we have succeeded in this.”

Lorenz Goesta Beutin of the hard-left Die Linke praised elements of the package but said it failed to offer an effective ecological restart.

Others balked at the scope of the spending, highly unusual in debt-shy Germany. Michael Theurer of the free market liberal Free Democrats (FDP) warned that the package would burden future generations.

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