Plans of the Minister of Economy: antitrust law with “claws and teeth”

Status: 06/13/2022 14:44

Despite the discount on tanks, fuel prices are still high. Habeck, the Minister of Economy, wants to tighten the antitrust law. According to the politician of the Greens, his plans are to return to “the original idea of ​​a social market economy”.

Federal Economy Minister Robert Habeck wants to present proposals for tightening the antitrust law “as soon as possible” due to the persistently high fuel prices. “We’re doing antitrust law with claws and teeth,” he said Deutschlandfunk. “We’re going back to the original idea of ​​a social market economy.” Competition ensures low prices that are good for consumers and therefore for the country as a whole.

Habeck: Assigning blame doesn’t help

From Habeck’s point of view, blaming the previously unsuccessful tank discount in the government alliance of SPD, Greens and FDP does not help. Such a debate is useless, he said. This tax cut was never what the Greens wanted. “But if a not-so-good idea goes wrong, of course you still have to help.”

There were enough warning voices, Habeck said, with the tank discount in mind. But now it’s about looking to the future and “not getting caught up in total helplessness.” He will take responsibility “to make the mess a little less,” said Habeck.

More intervention options for the cartel office

According to Habeck’s plans, the Cartel Office should have more possibilities to intervene, e.g. to be able to take more severe action against oil companies. Competition wardens should also be able to discard profits when companies abuse their market power. As a last resort, splits should also be possible in the case of dominant positions.

According to Habeck, the profits can theoretically be reduced in accordance with the applicable antitrust law. But it is difficult to apply because there is a need to prove that there is a cartel.

To make this proof easier – “I mean this inherited market” that functions like a cartel, antitrust law must be reformed. There have already been divisions in Germany, said Habeck. “Politics is not as vulnerable as it sometimes seems.”

“I am also irritated by the prices at the distributor,” Christian Lindner, Federal Minister of Finance, on the tank discount

topics on 23:15, 12/06/2022

Scholz sees the partial effect of the discount

From the point of view of Chancellor Olaf Scholz, a controversial discount on the gun tank – if only partially. A government spokesman said it wasn’t that the tax cut hadn’t achieved anything. It can be assumed that the prices at gas stations would have been much higher had there been no tax reduction. There is no consideration of changing or canceling the tank discount.

However, the federal government will look very closely to see if anyone is taking advantage of the situation and making gains that are not justified, a spokesman said. The law firm will look at the proposals of the Ministry of Economy.

Lindner is also worried about the high cost

A similar statement was made by Finance Minister Christian Lindner. He supported Minister of Economy Habeck in an interview with everyday topics: “Good thing Robert Habeck got the ball now.” He is also frustrated by high costs, but “it can be assumed that without a tax cut, the price would have been much higher.”

Lindner rejected the recent lifting of the tank discount, which was repeatedly demanded by economic experts. It is not that simple, because according to liberals it is a law.

Co-head of the Greens, Ricarda Lang, also sees no reason to withdraw the tax cuts. We stand by the compromises that were jointly agreed at the traffic lights, she said Report from Berlin. Even if at present only the companies producing mineral oils benefit from it, not the people at the distributor.

Lang said he would like to continue discussing the profit tax in excess with his coalition partners. The Finance Minister rejected it everyday topics turned off again.

Ricarda Lang, B90 / Greens, with reactions to an unsuccessful tank discount

BaB 18:00, 12/06/2022

Ongoing debate on the tax on excess profits

Habeck also announced that he was sticking to the so-called Excessive Profit Tax, which the FDP has rejected but is also campaigning for its proposed alternative.

The tax on excess profits does not seem to be able to win the majority in the coalition – said the politician of the Greens Deutschlandfunk and referred to Lindner’s rejection. “I don’t know if anything else is moving there.” However, he cannot and will not take this idea off the table because he thinks it is right. “But I’ll make a suggestion that has a similar effect on the goal.”

Klingbeil: “Finally, take action”

Lars Klingbeil, co-chair of the SPD, praised Habeck’s office plans for the cartel. It would be good if “action on fuel prices would finally be taken. Such pricing deals are indecent, ”Klingbeil told the Rheinische Post.

The president of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), Marcel Fratzscher, also welcomed the plans for the antitrust reform. The federal government is currently failing “accountability for fuel prices, ensuring fair competition, preventing market abuse and protecting consumers,” the Augsburger Allgemeine said. However, the reform of the antitrust law will come too late to bring down fuel prices, which are currently high.

Tank discount debate: Economy Minister Habeck wants to tighten antitrust law

Birthe Sönnichsen, ARD Berlin, 6/12/2022 21:25

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