The designated CDU chairman Friedrich Merz sees the currently high inflation rate as a long-term phenomenon and calls for a response from the European Central Bank (ECB).

"I can only appeal again and again to the ECB to correct its view that this inflation rate is only temporary," said Merz in Berlin.

"The ECB must recognize the problem as not just temporary, then draw the first conclusions with regard to the bond purchase programs and then finally announce interest rate hikes, just like the US Federal Reserve has done."

Steps already in the first half of the year

The end of the first half of the year at the latest would be the right time for this, "because we then have an indicator of how long we have to adjust to high inflation rates," said Merz, who is to be elected party leader next Saturday.

From statements such as those made by Isabel Schnabel from the ECB Executive Board, he gathers that the ECB is apparently in the process of reconsidering its position.

"In any case, the signs that we will also have considerable currency devaluation in 2022 are increasing every day," said Merz.

That's why the Americans and almost all countries in Europe that didn't belong to the euro area reacted.

“Only the ECB is not reacting.

I expect that to change this year.”

In the euro area, the inflation rate rose to 5.0 percent at the end of last year – the highest level since the introduction of the common currency.

According to an estimate by the Federal Statistical Office, the price increase rate in Germany was 5.3 percent at the beginning of the year in December and 3.1 percent on average for 2021.

A key driver of inflation is the sharp rise in energy prices.

When asked how people suffering from high prices could be helped, Merz replied: "First of all, the federal government is responsible here." Especially when he hears Economics and Climate Protection Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) and Social Affairs Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD). , but he has “increasingly the feeling that the federal government is on a path that will make everything considerably more expensive again”.

Critical questions to the federal government

"Therefore, a lot would be gained if the federal government would at least once concede that, for example, the galloping energy prices cannot go on like this," said the CDU economic politician.

In any case, the abolition of the EEG surcharge next year is not a solution for this year.

"So please: what does the federal government say about the rising energy prices, the rising food prices, the rising real estate prices, the rising rents in our country, which are a significant burden on an ever-increasing number of families?"

Merz doesn't think much of financial relief through a further reduction in VAT rates, as in the initial phase of the corona pandemic - "because it's just white ointment," as he said.

“That may help in the short term, but when you reintroduce the original rates you will have the opposite effect.

The federal government must solve the structural problems and not operate hectically with short-term and short-lived measures.”