German budget experts push for dividend ban tied to energy subsidies

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FILE PHOTO: High-voltage power lines and electricity pylons near Berlin

BERLIN (Reuters) – Budget experts from Germany’s ruling coalition on Friday stressed the need for a ban on dividends and bonuses being paid out at companies that benefit from gas or electricity price subsidies.

Speaking at a news conference, budget specialist for the Greens Sven-Christian Kindler said distributing profits that were boosted due to subsidised prices to shareholders or managers would pose not only a dilemma over fairness, but would also jeopardise competitiveness.

He noted that the coalition had clearly said in the budget committee that a freeze should be tied to the energy measures.

“That’s what we did during the coronavirus crisis…and we assume that this will be implemented,” said Kindler.

Free Democrat (FDP) budget expert Otto Fricke said it was now up to the government to propose how it would implement the funds for the energy measures, including “the question of bonuses and dividends for gas and electricity subsidies”.

(Reporting by Holger Hansen, Writing by Miranda Murray; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)