June 25, 2014 / 1:57 PM / 3 years ago

Germany's Gabriel-won't let EU hold Berlin hostage over renewables law

BERLIN, June 25 (Reuters) - German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel slammed the European Commission for holding Germany hostage over its renewable energy law, saying Berlin would resist demands from Brussels that it exempt imported power from a green energy surcharge.

“We were meeting regularly for six months... never once did the commission ever indicate it wanted to see surcharges on imported energy dropped,” he told an energy conference in Berlin.

“They are trying to hold us hostage... we will oppose this,” he said.

Berlin and the Commission have been at odds over the German system by which consumers pay a surcharge to finance renewable energy while heavy industrial users are exempt. The commission raised new sticking points on Monday. Germany made some compromises but is holding out on its right to levy a fee on imported power.

Germany is under pressure to pass the reform by Friday, so heavy power users can apply for next year’s subsidies in time. (Reporting by Alexandra Hudson and Vera Eckert)

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