Habeck: Stricter antitrust law against mineral oil companies

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is now also demanding that the anger of citizens about the fuel prices, which are still high despite the introduction of the tank discount, be taken seriously. “I understand the resentment of the citizens when many have to limit themselves and make some extra profits,” said Steinmeier picture on sunday with a view to the profits of the mineral oil companies. “We have to take the anger seriously.”

According to the Federal Cartel Office, the price at the gas station has risen more than the price of crude oil since the end of May, if the tax cut is factored out. After falling in price as a result of the tax cut on June 1, fuel has become significantly more expensive again. A liter of diesel is now only 3.2 cents cheaper than the day before the tax was reduced by 16.7 cents. According to the ADAC on Friday, Super E10 costs 20.9 cents – with a tax reduction of 35.2 cents.

Since the planned relief for citizens threatens to fizzle out without effect, calls for action against the mineral oil companies are getting louder. The state will not be able to compensate for every increase in price, said Steinmeier. However, it must be ensured “that some people cannot take unjustified advantages from the situation”. However, the government must answer the question of which instrument is the right one.

The Cartel Office should be able to skim off profits more quickly

There you are looking for it – and you may have found what you are looking for: Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) apparently wants to react to the development by tightening antitrust law, reports the news magazine mirror. Since the companies see the prices of the competition at the petrol stations, it is possible for them to align the prices with one another without an agreement that violates antitrust law. Therefore, the competition authorities should also be allowed to intervene in the markets if there is no evidence of a violation of competition law. The magazine quotes from a paper from the Ministry of Economics, according to which there should be an “abuse-free unbundling option” to break up entrenched markets.

In addition, the Federal Cartel Office should apparently be able to skim off profits more quickly that arise from the so-called oligopoly market – the money should then flow into the state coffers. Such a measure would be an alternative to the so-called excess profit tax, which is being called for by several heads of state governments. The FDP is against such a tax, with which profits from increased prices can be collected in order to relieve citizens with them. The planned amendments to the law are unlikely to ease the current situation in the short term. According to Habeck, they would help in the future.

Federal Finance Minister Lindner himself warns against “hasty judgments”

A number of top politicians from the FDP and CDU had previously called on Habeck to take action against the oil companies. “Minister Habeck must now put pressure on and, together with the Federal Cartel Office, ensure that the relief takes effect,” demanded the FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr in the picture. The deputy leader of the Union faction, Jens Spahn, said there: “The tank discount, worth billions, seeps away and the traffic light is watching. Ordering the oil multinationals to report is the least that Economics Minister Habeck can do.”

Federal Minister of Finance Lindner himself warned against “hasty judgments” when assessing the tank discount. It is not yet possible to say whether particularly high profits will be made by the mineral oil companies, he told the news portal t-online. Several factors determined the price at the pump – for example the development on the world markets, but also the availability of refinery capacities. There are not very many of them in Germany. “We simply don’t know what the fuel price would be if the energy tax were levied in full. Higher in any case,” said Lindner. But he too had pointed out the Cartel Office’s task of checking that the corporations were not exploiting their market power.

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