Europe’s biggest economy may nationalize energy firms – media

Germany says the measure is needed due to an ‘extreme’ threat to energy security

The German government has proposed legislative amendments that could see energy companies put under temporary management or nationalized, TASS news agency reported on Tuesday, citing the country’s media.

Amendments to the Energy Security Act, proposed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, would enable authorities to put energy companies under temporary management in case of an acute crisis, or, in extreme cases, to nationalize them, according to Funke Media Group, Germany’s third-largest newspapers and magazine publisher.

According to the draft amendments, the ministry would have the power to transfer the ownership of key energy infrastructure operators if they are unable to perform their tasks, thus threatening the stability of energy supply. If external management cannot guarantee energy security, nationalization would be an option. According to German law, draft legislation has to be approved by the German parliament and signed into law by the president.

Last week, Germany took temporary ownership of a local branch of Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom, citing an urgent need to maintain the country’s energy supply. Gazprom Germania, a subsidiary of the St. Petersburg-based firm, operates some of the country’s largest natural gas storage facilities.

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The Kremlin said the nationalization of the subsidiaries of Russian energy companies in Germany would seriously violate international law.

In late March, Germany triggered a gas emergency plan over a potential disruption or stoppage of energy supplies from Russia, as Moscow and the EU found themselves at loggerheads over Russia’s demand that EU customers pay for gas in rubles.

Germany is heavily dependent on energy imports from Russia, and a number of businessmen and politicians have warned of potentially disastrous consequences for the country’s economy if the flow of Russian energy were to stop due to sanctions.

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