Germany gives in to pressure from its neighbors and scraps its gas surcharge – Euractiv FR

Germany gives in to pressure from its neighbors and scraps its gas surcharge – Euractiv FR
Germany gives in to pressure from its neighbors and scraps its gas surcharge – Euractiv FR

The German government announced on Thursday (May 30) that it would scrap its controversial surcharge on gas transiting through its territory in 2025, a move its neighbors said increased the cost of abandoning Russian gas.

In the summer of 2022, Germany saw its main gas supplier, Moscow, restrict its exports. The government then embarked on a purchasing frenzy, investing in gas at a time when prices were very high to fill its stocks before winter.

Today, Berlin faces the financial repercussions of purchasing billions of cubic meters of gas when prices were more than five times higher than today.

To compensate for losses and cover associated storage costs, the intermediary company responsible for overseeing its gas markets, Trading Hub Europe (THE), has decided to levy a surcharge on gas sales so that consumers bear the cost. And Germany’s neighbors have also been involved, since any gas passing through German gas pipelines is subject to this additional tax.

Recently, the operator announced that from July, the surcharge would be increased by 34% to reach 2.50 euros per MWh.

This announcement sparked an outcry from several countries, who believe that the German tax hinders the gradual abandonment of Russian gas, since gas from elsewhere imported via liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in Western Europe becomes thus more expensive (an increase of almost 10% in the wholesale price).

Austria and the Czech Republic, two landlocked countries dependent on gas imported via German territory, actively contested this measure.

At a meeting of EU energy ministers in Brussels on Thursday (30 May), German State Secretary Sven Giegold announced that the tax would be abolished from 1 January 2025 for foreign consumers.

“This will support the integration of European energy markets”he explained, adding that the intention of the system was never to hinder the abandonment of Russian gas.

Now, the full cost of 2022 purchases should now be passed on to German consumers only.

Before the tax is removed, the planned increase of 34% over six months from July 1 will be maintained.

For Eastern Europe, the beginning of 2025 is a key date, as the gas transit agreement between the Kremlin and Ukraine will expire, which could disrupt gas deliveries to Austria , Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

With the removal of this surcharge, Western European gas imported via Germany should cost as much as deliveries from Russia, making it easier for these countries to turn away from Russian supplies.

Germany increases its controversial gas surcharge

The intermediary company responsible for overseeing German gas markets announced on Tuesday (21 May) that Germany’s controversial gas transit surcharge will increase from July, potentially escalating tensions with Austria and Brussels on this subject.

[Édité par Anne-Sophie Gayet]

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