A pressure gauge shows the pressure in the natural gas network (symbol image)
Photo: Jan Woitas / dpa
Germany will soon be the owner of a huge energy company.
However, this should not remain the case in the long term, says an advisory body to the federal government.
In the current situation, the nationalization is "politically understandable," said the chairman of the monopoly commission, Jürgen Kühling, of the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" at the weekend.
At the same time, he warned that the step should not be a long-term solution.
“Then we have to get back to the competition.
The aim must not be to create a permanent state gas monopoly.« Competition is important for the energy markets to function.
On Wednesday, the federal government announced that it wanted to take over almost all of Uniper.
The background is that Russia had completely stopped the contractually agreed gas supplies.
Uniper had to procure gas elsewhere, which was expensive.
That aggravated the plight of the group, it said.
Kühling told the “SZ” that Uniper is also a test case for how competition can later be restored in some areas.
More than eight billion euros for the rescue
The Uniper rescue is one of the most expensive that Germany has ever afforded.
It is to take place in several steps: the group is to issue around 4.7 billion shares, which the federal government subscribes to – that will cost around eight billion euros.
Around half a billion euros will be due for the shares of the previous majority owner Fortum.
Uniper had previously taken out loans of more than EUR 13 billion from the state development bank KfW.
But the Uniper rescue could not be enough: Talks are also currently being held about the future of Sefe, a subsidiary of the Russian state-owned company Gazprom, which is already under trusteeship.
The VNG from Leipzig is also in need of money - just like many municipal utilities.
VNG has already applied for state aid.
(Read more about how the federal government intends to cover the costs financially and what the effects of nationalization are on Uniper.)
Finally, the Uniper nationalization raises another question: Can the gas surcharge still be maintained?
It is supposed to be introduced in a week, but is currently still under constitutional review.
It is unclear whether Uniper, which will soon be a de facto state-owned company, could receive the surcharge.
With the levy, gas importers should be able to pass on the additional costs incurred as a result of the failed Russian deliveries to consumers.
In the meantime, not only the opposition, but also SPD leader Lars Klingbeil is questioning the gas levy.
The energy company E.on, on the other hand, had called for them to be introduced as planned.