Energy: Lindner Tank stands with discount: otherwise prices are “too high”

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energy

Lindner Tank is available with a discount: otherwise the prices are “too high”

Finance Minister Christian Lindner (L) and Economics Minister Robert Habeck.

Photo: DPA

Even after the mineral oil tax was reduced, the prices at the petrol pumps hardly fell at all. Finance Minister Lindner Tank is sticking to the exception. Can tightening antitrust laws help?

Berlin. Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner defended the tank exemption despite all doubts about its effectiveness. The FDP politician said on ARD and ZDF that the fuel prices would be “significantly higher” without the tax exemption.

In principle, Lindner also approved the initiative of Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) to tighten antitrust law. The FDP leader continues to vehemently reject the additional profit tax to reduce excess profits of the mineral oil companies, but for the coalition partners SPD and Greens the discussions are far from over.

On June 1st, the energy tax on petrol and diesel was significantly reduced to relieve motorists. But on the pumps it was hardly felt. In the ZDF program “Berlin Direct” and in the ARD program “Tagstemann”, Lindner defended himself against the idea that the tank discount was a non-starter. He pointed to higher world prices, a stronger dollar and a reduction in refineries as factors contributing to value creation. “I think the debate is a bit emotionally charged,” said Lindner on ZDF.

Green Boss: Liberation brings relief to oil companies

SPD leader Lars Klingbeil told the “Rheinische Post”: “Tank discounts are for passengers, not for oil multinationals.” for the mineral oil companies. Nevertheless, his party is banking on tax cuts. “We stand by the agreement that we made together in the traffic light coalition.” But one thing is clear: “We have no interest in oil companies making big profits.” The debate about other means such as an additional profit tax is not yet over.

Economics Minister Hebek threatened companies with measures at the weekend. He wants to tighten antitrust law and, if necessary, enable companies to break even. It should also be easy to snag illegal winnings. This is essentially a position paper from the Federal Ministry of Economics, which the “Spiegel” reported on for the first time on Sunday.

Support for SPD and FDP

Hebek was looking for support for his project. He hopes that “everyone who has called for the cartel office to intervene is also prepared to enable it to intervene,” Hebek told the “Welt”. “That no longer applies to tank discounts, but it sharpens the sword for the future and sends a clear signal that enrichment at the expense of others is not that easy.” Still, he added: “I understand the frustration and anger of consumers who when corporations simply pocket tax cuts that should relieve commuters in the form of benefits.”

SPD leader Klingbeil said of Habeck’s plan: “It’s good if action is taken. Such price compromises are indecent.” Finance Minister Lindner said the implementation would be examined. “The direction is right,” he emphasized. FDP leader Christian Dürer told the editorial network Germany: “Proposals that are constitutional and do not damage Germany as an investment location are welcome.” The FDP attaches particular importance to creating transparency about price developments at petrol stations.

Union criticizes Habeck’s proposal

On the other hand, the Sangh was skeptical about Hebek’s move. Group Vice President Thorsten Frey emphasized in the “Rheinische Post” that fuel discounts should not be misused to maximize profits. However, the Cartel Office already has options to intervene. The CDU politician warned of the possible right of intervention by authorities, which could be exercised regardless of possible abuse. “Extreme caution is required at this point. There must be no arbitrary skimming of profits, ”said Frey. Union faction leader Jens Spahn rated Hebeck’s view in the RND as accepted by the coalition that “his detente will pass without Arab influence”.

The President of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), Marcel Fratzscher, described Habeck’s proposal as an “important initiative”. The problem of the mineral oil companies is not that they make profit per se, “but that they abuse their market power at the expense of consumers,” said the economist of the Augsburger Allgemeine (Monday). Fratzscher said antitrust reform was too late to lower fuel prices. There is an “error in the declaration” of the tax exemption.

The debate about an additional profit tax to collect additional profits from the crisis has not yet been decided. SPD leader Klingbeal spoke as a Green ally Lang and called it “worth considering using companies that are now making additional profits to finance the common good”. The FDP boss hopes, however, that with Habeck’s initiative, the issue of additional profit tax payments will be off the table. “This would leave our tax law at the mercy of arbitrariness and political sentiment,” Lindner warned on ZDF.

© dpa-infocom, dpa:220613-99-641073/4

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