BRUSSELS Feb 12 EU regulators will decide by
the end of July if ThyssenKrupp, BASF and
other German heavy energy users must repay billions of euros in
a fuel surcharge they were exempt from, a person close to the
matter said on Wednesday.
Germany is seeking to shift from fossil fuels and nuclear
power to green energy, but has shielded its industry from
helping paying for the transition by exempting companies from a
surcharge on fuel that ordinary consumers have to pay.
Around 2,000 companies benefit from the exemption, worth 4
billion euros ($5.47 billion) in 2013 and 2.72 billion euros in
2012. These are expected to rise to 5.1 billion euros this year.
In December last year, the European Commission launched an
investigation into the exemptions, saying it was concerned that
they could go against the EU's laws on state aid to companies.
The EU executive can order EU governments to recover
subsidies it finds they are illegal.
The EU state aid regulator, which aims to have a ruling
before the EU institutions' August break, is yet to conclude if
the exemptions are legal or not.
The person said the decision will cover exemptions granted
in 2012 and 2013.
The German case will be examined under updated EU rules on
energy and environment issues which the Commission is expected
to adopt in April.
Under the new state aid guidelines outlined late last year,
the Commission has said costly subsidies should be phased