The second stage of Germany's ecotax legislation is finally set to become law after winning approval in the upper house of parliament or Bundesrat today. The centre-right controlled states of Bavaria and Saxony voted to call for conciliation with the Bundestag in a last minute attempt to stop the law, but could not muster the required majority. As well as increases in mineral oil tax on motor and heavy heating fuels of euros 0.03 (DM0.06) per litre and a rise in the price of electricity of euros 0.026 per kilowatt hour each year from 2000 to 2003, highly efficient combined cycle gas power stations achieving an electrical efficiency of at least 57.5% will be exempt from mineral oil tax for a limited period. The Green party's environment speaker Reinhard Loske welcomed the final outcome, describing the law as being in distinctly "green handwriting". "Transferring the tax burden from work to consumption of resources will be at the heart of the German tax system," he said. Negotiations on the ecotax law had also led to wider changes, he added, that would add to Germany's "fundamental ecological direction". These are support for combined heat and power generation (CHP); mineral oil tax exemption for small CHP plants up to 2 megawatts; more support for renewable energy; early introduction of "sulphur-free" motor fuels, defined as less than 10 parts per million sulphur; and improved competitive conditions for buses and trains.
Bundesrat, tel: +49 228 91000; German Green Party, tel: +49 30 227 55518.
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