Former Greens lawmaker in line to lead German energy regulator - report

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Klaus Mueller, Executive Director of The Federation of German Consumer Organisations (Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband e.V. VZBV) is pictured during an interview with Reuters in Berlin, Germany, September 16, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo

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BERLIN, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Klaus Mueller, the head of Germany's main consumer association, who has links with the Greens party, will lead the Bundesnetzagentur energy regulator, a senior politician told Handelsblatt daily on Wednesday.

The agency is responsible for regulation in the energy, telecoms and rail sectors and is involved in the certification of the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. The agency's current president is due to leave at the end of February.

Olaf Lies, environment and energy minister in the state of Lower Saxony, told Handelsblatt that Mueller, head of the VZBV federation of consumer organisations since 2014, would take the closely-watched position.

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The economy ministry oversees the regulator, though Germany's ruling coalition must agree to confirm a candidate for the agency. Handelsblatt reported that the coalition parties have agreed that the Greens have the right to put forward a name.

Mueller has links with the Greens party, which shares power with the Social Democrats (SPD) and pro-business Free Democrats. The Greens are more sceptical about Nord Stream 2 than the SPD.

Mueller has been a Greens lawmaker in the German parliament; between 2000 and 2005, he was environment minister in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein.

In November, the energy regulator suspended the approval process for Nord Stream 2, saying the consortium behind it had to create a German subsidiary to comply with European energy regulation. read more

After ten years as president of the Bundesnetzagentur, Jochen Homann's term runs out at the end of February.

A spokesperson for the economy ministry declined to comment on the report.

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Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Aurora Ellis

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