The EU has set its sights on high energy prices.
The EU unveiled a “toolbox” of measures on Wednesday to address an energy shortage that threatens to drive up Europeans’ power costs.
Even though national EU nations are more directly accountable for their energy sources and taxation, the European Commission has been under pressure to intervene on the approaching issue.
“Consumer worry is understandable and justified,” EU energy commissioner Kadri Simson said as the measures were announced.
“Winter is approaching, and many people’s electricity costs are the highest they’ve been in a decade. Gas prices have risen over the world, owing primarily to demand in Asia.” The fundamental cause of the increase in energy prices is that economies are recovering quickly from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
This year, wholesale natural gas prices, which serve as a leading indicator for overall European energy prices, have more than tripled. The cost of oil and coal has also increased.
Some EU officials accuse Russia of “blackmailing” Germany by limiting stop-gap supplies in order to persuade Germany to activate the recently constructed Nord Stream 2 pipeline across the Baltic, bypassing Ukraine.
Moscow, on the other hand, claims to be a “trustworthy partner” and claims that new contracts would be needed to enhance natural gas deliveries to Europe.
In a “tough scenario,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said it was “extremely vital” to “propose a long-term method to stabilize the energy market” at a Moscow energy summit.
The topic of energy will be the focus of an EU leaders’ meeting next week.
Giving poorer households emergency assistance — potentially in the form of energy vouchers — is one option on the list of solutions provided Wednesday to quickly counter the energy price hikes.
Consumers should be able to postpone paying bills, and taxes and levies that account for more than a third of the cost of those bills should be decreased or eliminated, according to the Commission.
These recommendations, however, must be “temporary” and “targeted,” according to the document.
The medium-term options were similarly more hazy.
They concentrated on increasing investment in renewable energy sources and pan-European infrastructure, which are currently on the table as the EU prepares to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
Simson blasted claims made by some in the EU, most notably Hungary, that the rise in energy prices was due to higher costs associated with the green transition.
“We are not experiencing an energy price spike as a result of our climate strategy or the high cost of renewable energy.” We’re up against it. The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.