Wednesday, November 30

German Finance Minister Questions Gas Levy’s Rationale


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German Finance Minister Christian Lindner criticized the gas levy planned to help the country stave off a collapse of its energy sector.

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Lindner told Bild am Sonntag that he’s less concerned about the legal aspects of the plan that have stoked controversy in Germany, than about its economic rationale.

“We have a gas levy that increases the price. But we need a gas price brake that lowers the price,” said Lindner, a fiscal hawk who leads the business-friendly Free Democrats.

He also said Germany should stick to its debt brake despite huge costs now being incurred to stabilize its energy sector, including a costly bailout of gas importer Uniper SE.

Read more: Scholz’s Coalition Is at Odds Over Germany’s Energy-Rescue Costs

The gas levy has become a flashpoint since it was floated in August by Robert Habeck, Germany’s economy minister and a member of the Greens.

The measure, due to take effect on Oct. 1, is designed to compensate utilities for soaring wholesale energy prices by charging consumers a fee. The measure was originally criticized for being too loosely defined, allowing unaffected companies to apply for funds. Habeck has sought to close loopholes to shut out “freeloaders.”



financialpost.com