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Germany

Ministers Criticize Energy Price Hikes

Energy price hikes of up to 8 percent stirred up Germany's ruling Social Democratic-Greens coalition over the weekend. Economics Minister Wolfgang Clement (SPD) called the increases a danger to German industry and said energy suppliers needed to justify already high prices before raising them again. Environment Minister Jürgen Trittin (Greens) said the gas and power providers' were simply taking advantage of their last chance to make extra profits before a regulatory agency begins to look into their books. The government approved an energy bill in July, which calls for regulation of gas and electricity providers, but it needs to be approved by both houses of parliament before it becomes law.