Robert Habeck Buendnis 90/Die Gruenen, Bundesminister fuer Wirtschaft und Klimaschutz und Vizekanzler, aufgenommen im Rahmen eines Pressestatements nach der Sitzung des Kabinetts in Berlin, 24.08.2022. Berlin Deutschland *** Robert Habeck Buendnis 90 Die Gruenen , Federal Minister for Economy and Climate Protection and Vice Chancellor, recorded during a press statement after the cabinet meeting in Berlin, 24 08 2022 Berlin Germany Copyright: xFlorianxGaertner/photothek.dex

Within the traffic light government, the pressure is increasing on Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) to make changes to the controversial gas levy. Representatives of the SPD and FDP protest against the regulation, according to which gas companies that make profits and are not threatened by insolvency can benefit from the levy. Within the Greens there are both critics and defenders of the regulation from the Federal Ministry of Economics.

SPD leader Saskia Esken threatened a blockade in the Bundestag on Thursday evening. “In the end, Parliament also has the right to intervene,” warns Esken on the “Welt” television channel. “And Parliament will also make use of this.” In order to prevent the surcharge from failing, Economics Minister Robert Habeck must urgently ensure that no one who profits from the energy crisis earns money from the gas surcharge.

“Regardless of the fact that companies that make billions in profits can be expected not to submit such applications in the first place, we have to ensure by law that the applications are unsuccessful and that everyone benefits from the excess profits of the crisis,” said the deputy head of the SPD parliamentary group, Matthias Miersch, the daily mirror.

He indirectly criticized the Vice Chancellor’s course: “We will only overcome this crisis if we ensure cohesion. But if the normal gas customer secures the profit for the large energy company, then that disturbs the sense of justice.” There are fears in the SPD that the anger of many citizens about the regulation, which they perceive as unfair, could be dumped on their own party.

Criticism of the gas levy also comes from the ranks of the liberals: “As Free Democrats, we are committed to ensuring that the gas levy only supports companies that are in a market-threatening imbalance,” said Michael Kruse, the energy policy spokesman for the FDP Bundestag faction on Thursday of the German Press Agency.

Julia Verlinden, deputy leader of the Greens in the Bundestag, defended the announcement by the economics minister. “The cause of the fatal dependency on expensive gas imports is the energy policy of recent years. We are doing everything we can to accelerate the energy transition and replace natural gas with renewables and energy efficiency,” she told the Tagesspiegel.

In view of the massive price fluctuations on the gas market and the failure of Russian gas supplies, the federal government “appropriately and with foresight and with the support of the traffic light factions stabilized the companies Uniper and the former Gazprom Germania, which had gotten into trouble, and thus saved the gas market in Germany from collapsing”.

Both direct stabilization measures and the gas surcharge are necessary to ensure the functioning gas market is secured quickly and effectively. Your income will be “used for the most part for precisely the system-critical companies”. The levy was limited in time so that the companies still bear as many of the additional costs as possible themselves. Verlinden spoke out in favor of further targeted relief.

In contrast, the spokeswoman for the Green Youth, Sarah-Lee Heinrich, told this newspaper: “It is unfair and also completely nonsensical that losses are borne by society while many companies have made excess profits during the crisis.”

The economic policy spokesman for the Greens parliamentary group, Dieter Janecek, had previously brought a correction by the Bundestag into play. In order to avoid deadweight effects and excess profits, the legislature must “in case of doubt also be prepared to tighten the criteria for claims,” ​​he told the Handelsblatt.

On Wednesday after the cabinet meeting, Habeck referred to legal constraints on the regulation. The companies should be treated equally, he argued.

The federal government fears problems with the coal supply for power plants and the oil supply in eastern Germany in the autumn and winter. “Due to the very limited inland waterway transport, the built-up coal stocks could be reduced quickly,” says the “Energy Supply Situation Report” of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, which was available to the Reuters news agency.

Additional storage facilities in southern Germany could “in all likelihood not be filled until winter” because of the low water level in the Rhine and congested railways.