04 Sep 2023, 13:19
Sören Amelang

Germany’s state premiers call on EU to allow industry electricity subsidies - report


The premiers of Germany’s 16 federal states have urged the EU to enable electricity price subsidies in support of industry, reports business daily Handelsblatt. In a joint “Brussels Declaration” seen by the newspaper, the state premiers ask the Commission to allow national governments to introduce a so-called bridge electricity price for industry, which is currently under discussion in Germany. The paper, which is meant to be published this week, argues that high energy costs are an "acute obstacle" to the economic recovery. "It must therefore be possible for member states to establish a competitive bridge electricity price for a transitional period, especially for energy-intensive companies exposed to international competition, until affordable renewable energies are available on a sufficient scale."

The 16 state premiers will meet in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday (6-7 September), where they will meet European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen; the new vice-president in charge of the Green Deal, Maros Sefcovic; and energy commissioner Kadri Simson, according to the report. In their declaration, the premiers call for realistic and coherent Green Deal targets, adding that small and medium-sized companies need more targeted support. "With regard to the pace of achieving climate neutrality, care must be taken to ensure that the international competitiveness of EU industry is maintained, and public acceptance is guaranteed," the declaration says.

Germany is considering a plan to boost the international competitiveness of its prized heavy industry by subsidising electricity, but there are EU concerns about unfair competition. Energy-intensive firms are to receive billions of euros in state help if they promise to decarbonise and to stay within the country, according to a proposal by the economy and climate ministry (BMWK). But the idea remains controversial among policymakers and economists, with both Chancellor Olaf Scholz and finance minister Christian Lindner coming out against it.

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