According to the EU, VAT must be levied on the gas surcharge for German customers. “There is no possibility for an exception to this type of tax,” said a Commission spokesman in Brussels on Tuesday.

However, one wants to find a solution together with Germany so that the end customer is relieved in the same way as if the tax were waived. “We share with Germany the wish that this measure will not have unintended tax consequences.”

Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) failed with his request that the EU should make an exception for the levy. It has been set at around 2.4 cents per kilowatt hour.

For a household of four, this can mean an annual burden of around 480 euros – with 19 percent VAT it would be over 570 euros.