Germany’s neighbors say the measure is harming EU unity and hindering their efforts to ditch Russian energy.

The EU will haul Germany to court unless the country revises a controversial gas law that neighboring countries say is harming their efforts to diversify away from Russian energy, a senior European Commission official told POLITICO.

Germany adopted the law in 2022, slapping a levy on all gas leaving the country to help plug an almost €10 billion black hole in its budget. But Germany’s neighbors say the law could violate EU rules on gas storage and undermine the bloc’s single market — driving up prices and incentivizing them to buy cheaper Russian energy.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive, shares those concerns and has told Germany the measure may not be legal.

“For us, there are grounds to consider it a clear-cut breach of competition law and the single market rules,” said the senior Commission official, who was granted anonymity to speak freely about the sensitive matter.

  • @[email protected]
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    231 month ago

    Eastern Europe cannot rely on methane as a fuel for decades to come, they’re acting like climate change isn’t happening.

    Sure, this tax might need to be scrapped, but methane is not the supposed solution countries like Hungary, Slovakia and Austria think it is. If Eastern European countries truly cannot afford legitimate methane uses (e.g. heating for low to middle income home owners until replacement) from non-Russian sources, then the EU needs to do something, but I doubt that that is wanted.

    • @baru
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      91 month ago

      It’s also funny that a tax meant to increase gas prices and make it easier for alternatives to be cost effective is used in an argument to not do anything and just rely on Russian gas.

      Though it would be good/required if that tax directly goes to the country paying it and to efforts to switch from gas. That’s sort of how the Netherlands subsidises the efforts, they made electricity and gas more expensive and used part of that to subsidize solar panels, various business projects, etc.

  • AutoTL;DRB
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    21 month ago

    This is the best summary I could come up with:


    But Germany’s neighbors say the law could violate EU rules on gas storage and undermine the bloc’s single market — driving up prices and incentivizing them to buy cheaper Russian energy.

    “For us, there are grounds to consider it a clear-cut breach of competition law and the single market rules,” said the senior Commission official, who was granted anonymity to speak freely about the sensitive matter.

    The process can result in financial penalties, although it usually takes months if not years before reaching that point — and starts with several compliance requests from Brussels before the courts get involved.

    At the time when Germany adopted the levy, wholesale gas prices were at record highs after Moscow slashed exports to punish Europe over its support for Ukraine.

    So far, the EU has eliminated around two-thirds of its historical Russian gas imports, though several Central European countries remain highly dependent on Moscow for supplies.

    “The gas storage levy is non-discriminatory and is charged at the same rate” for all countries, a German Economy Ministry spokesperson told POLITICO, while confirming the government was holding informal talks with the Commission over a potential breach of EU law.


    The original article contains 661 words, the summary contains 192 words. Saved 71%. I’m a bot and I’m open source!