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Germany

Energy bosses meet Merkel over planned power tax

Bosses of German energy firms are meeting Chancellor Angela Merkel to voice concern over plans for a tax on fuel elements. A proposed extension to the lives of nuclear power plants was also on the agenda.

The Brunsbuettel nuclear power plant

Nuclear power producers are threatening legal action

Top German energy bosses are meeting Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday to voice concerns about a proposed tax on fuel elements.

Bosses of the electricity companies EoN, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall will attempt to hinder levies intended to raise 2.3 billion euros ($2.8 billion) each year for the government.

The fuel element tax was announced earlier this month as part of an austerity budget to reduce Germany's budget deficit. Power plant operators have threatened legal action if it is introduced.

Threat to profits

The proposals would cost Vattenfall more than 100 million euros each year, the company's European chief Tuomo Hatakka, told the German daily newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Wednesday.

"We would have to take that from our profits," he said. "If it remains the case, then we must test whether it is legally tenable."

The meeting is officially intended as a session to discuss the German government's energy plans, with a proposed extension for the lifetimes of nuclear power plants high on the agenda.

However, no concrete decision is to be taken at the meeting, with Economics Minister Rainer Bruederle and Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen absent from the discussions.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that her center-right coalition wants to revoke a law passed under Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's center-left coalition that promised to shut down all nuclear power plants in Germany by 2020.

Author: Richard Connor (dpa/Reuters/AP)
Editor: Rob Turner

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