Lindner sticks to the discount on tanks: otherwise the prices are “much higher” | Free press

Even after the reduction of fuel taxes, prices at gas stations hardly fall. Finance Minister Lindner sticks to tank discounts. Can tightening the antitrust law help?

Berlin.

Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner defended the discount on the tank despite all doubts about its effectiveness. Fuel prices would be “much higher” without the tax break, an FDP politician told ARD and ZDF.

In fact, Lindner also approved the initiative of the economy minister, Robert Habeck (the Greens), to tighten the antitrust law. The FDP leader continues to severely reject the excess profit tax to scoop up additional profits from the oil companies, but for the coalition partners of the SPD and the Greens, the discussion is not over.

On June 1, the energy tax on gasoline and diesel was significantly lowered to ease the burden on drivers. But with the pumps it was barely noticeable. In the ZDF “Berlin direkt” program and in the ARD “Tagesthemen”, Lindner defended himself against the impression that the discount on the tank was insufficient. He pointed to higher world prices, the strong dollar and shortages in refineries as price drivers. “I have the feeling that the debate is a bit emotionally charged,” said ZDF’s Lindner.

Green boss: discounts take the burden off oil companies

SPD leader Lars Klingbeil told the Rheinische Post: “The fuel discount applies to commuters, not international oil companies.” Green Party leader Ricarda Lang admitted in ARD’s “Berlin Report” that the discount does not actually take the burden off the people, but the oil companies. Even so, her party sticks to the tax cut. “We are making the compromises that we have agreed together in the traffic light coalition.” But one thing is clear: “We’re not interested in seeing oil companies make big profits.” The debate on other instruments, such as a tax on excess profits, is not over yet.

Economy Minister Habeck threatened corporations with a hearing over the weekend. He wants to tighten the antimonopoly law and, if necessary, also to allow the division of companies. Moreover, it should be easier to divert illegal profits. This is essentially the position of the Federal Ministry of Economy, which was first announced by “Spiegel” on Sunday.

Support for SPD and FDP

Habeck asked for support for his project. He hopes that “anyone who has requested an intervention by the cartel bureau is also prepared to put them in that position so that they can intervene,” Habeck told Welt. “This no longer applies to the tank discount, but sharpens the sword for the future and sends a clear signal that getting rich at the expense of others is not that easy.” Nonetheless, he said, “I understand the disappointment and anger of consumers when corporations are simply amassing a tax cut that was intended to relieve commuters as a profit.”

“It’s good when you finally take action. Such pricing agreements are indecent, ”said SPD leader Klingbeil about Habeck’s plan. Finance Minister Lindner said we would look at the implementation. “The direction is right,” he stressed. FDP leader Christian Dürr told the German editorial network: “Proposals that are in line with the constitution and do not harm Germany as an investment location are welcome.” The FDP pays particular attention to creating transparency of price changes at gas stations.

The Union criticizes Habeck’s proposal

On the other hand, the Union was skeptical about Habeck’s move. Group vice president Thorsten Frei emphasized in the Rheinische Post that tank discounts should not be used to maximize profits. However, the cartel office already has the opportunity to intervene. The CDU politician warned against the possible right of government interference, which can be used regardless of possible abuses. “Extreme caution is required at this point. There cannot be arbitrary profit ditching, ”Frei said. Jens Spahn, leader of the union faction, assessed Habeck’s ideas in the RND as an admission by the coalition that “their billions of rebates are disappearing to no effect.”

The president of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), Marcel Fratzscher, called Habeck’s proposal an “important initiative”. The problem with the oil companies is not that they make a profit on their own, but are “abusing their market power at the expense of consumers,” economist Augsburger Allgemeine said (Monday). Antitrust reform will come too late to cut fuel prices down, Fratzscher said. Tax Refund is a “mistake with your advertisement”.

The debate on an excess profit tax to levy a tax on additional profits caused by the crisis has yet to be resolved. SPD leader Klingbeil expressed himself in a similar way to colleague Green Lang and called it “worth considering using companies that are now making additional profits to finance the common good.” However, the head of the FDP hopes that thanks to Habeck’s initiative, the issue of the tax on excess profits will disappear from the table. “This would leave our tax law at the mercy of arbitrariness and political fluctuations in sentiment,” Lindner warned in an interview with ZDF. (dpa)

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