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“Triple billions”: SPD expects high costs for gas price caps

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The SPD in the Bundestag assumes that the proposed cap on gas prices in Germany will cost billions. “The volume we are talking about depends on many parameters,” said the parliamentary director of the SPD parliamentary group, Katja Mast, on Wednesday in Berlin.

“In the end I’m assuming a three-digit billion amount,” says Mast. This is expected to apply for a year.

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Despite the fact that Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) was sticking to the debt brake, Mast expressed confidence in terms of financing. After recognizing the need for a brake, she was sure “that we will see the necessary financial means”.

Answering the financing question is not the task of the expert commission on the gas and heating market set up by the government, but “the original job of the Federal Minister of Finance”.

Christian Lindner (FDP), Federal Minister of Finance
© Photo: dpa/Kay Nietfeld
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According to Mast, the gas levy originally presented by Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) will be temporary or not at all. “It is clear that the gas surcharge will not last forever.”

SPD politician Mast: “Speed ​​and thoroughness must run in parallel”

After starting work on Saturday, the commission with experts on gas and heat has now set a few appointments and will go into retreat, reported Mast. For reasons of capacity alone, the exam should only take place after the state elections in Lower Saxony in October.

The complexity is also great because it is not just about the gas importer Uniper. “It also has to be answered what the situation is with the few but existing other companies,” said Mast.

With a view to the feasibility of the expected proposals, the politician said: “I hope that the Commission will not only make a smart proposal, but also a proposal that can work over time.” Legislation then has to take place in November – centrally are the deliberations in the Bundestag.

Asked about the fear that a state price cap could offer too few incentives to save gas against the background of the Russian war in Ukraine and after the Russian gas supplies were stopped, Mast said: “We have always said that it is not just about a systematic intervention in the The price structure works, but we have always said that there must also be a savings impulse.” The SPD politician did not give any details.

There is a saying: “Thoroughness comes before speed,” said Mast. “But we are currently in a situation where speed and thoroughness have to run in parallel.” There is a risk that companies with expiring gas supply contracts will not get any new contracts.

Meanwhile, a gas price cap is also being discussed in the European Union. More than half of the EU countries have called for a cap on import prices for natural gas. According to a letter from 15 of the 27 member states to the EU Commission, which was available to the AFP news agency on Wednesday, such a price cap has “priority”.

Signatories include France, Spain and Italy. Germany does not support the advance.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, talks to EU Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton during the weekly meeting of the College of Commissioners at the EU headquarters.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, talks to EU Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton during the weekly meeting of the College of Commissioners at the EU headquarters.
© Photo: dpa/Virginia Mayo

In the letter, the 15 countries called on the EU Commission to make a proposal for the price cap by the special meeting of energy ministers on Friday. Three weeks ago, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen discussed a “price cap for Russian gas”. However, this idea failed due to the resistance of Eastern European countries, which are dependent on Russian energy supplies.

The letter now states: “The cap should apply to all wholesale natural gas transactions and not just to imports from certain jurisdictions” such as Russia. With such a framework, the EU could also limit inflation and additional profits in the sector.

With a view to a general upper price limit, the EU Commission had previously expressed skepticism. She warned that the US and others would then sell the liquefied natural gas (LNG) they need in Europe in Asia. According to reports, the Federal Government sees it similarly. (dpa, AFP)

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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