The EU is taking steps to bring down 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. In the next months, these increases are expected to show up on family and corporate bills.
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.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, blamed “structural faults” in the European energy market, stating that “some try to pass their failures on to others” during a Moscow energy event.
In the midst of a “tough situation,” he called for “a long-term strategy to stabilize the energy market.”
The topic of energy will be the focus of an EU leaders’ meeting next week.
The European Commission’s list of solutions includes emergency subsidies to poorer households, maybe in the form of energy vouchers.
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.
When it comes to the global energy crisis, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved only targeted measures for the most vulnerable, claiming that anything more would be costly and lead to “extremely negative incentives.”
The European Commission is vehemently disputing claims made by some EU members, most notably Hungary, claiming. The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.