October 18, 2021

The European Union is taking steps to reduce rising energy prices ahead of the winter months.

Issued:

The European Commission on Wednesday unveiled a set of proposals to meet rising energy prices ahead of the cold winter months, especially for low-income households.

The EU’s executive branch on Wednesday advised 27 EU member states to adopt tax cuts, state aid and other measures to help homes and businesses cope. High energy prices Which has sparked a new debate on the use of nuclear power.

After months of economic instability linked to the corona virus epidemic, the European Commission is calling for a swift and concerted response to mitigate the effects of rising prices, especially for the poor or low-income people.

Rising global energy prices are a serious concern for the European Union. As we recover from the epidemic and begin our economic recovery, it is important to protect vulnerable consumers and help European companies.

To help consumers, the European Commission has suggested that countries offer revenue support through vouchers, late bill payments or partial bill payments, which can be offset by revenue from the EU’s emissions trading system. Is.

Its other recommendations to national governments include introducing service cuts, tax cuts and protective measures to avoid aid to certain companies or industries.

The commission said it also wanted to see long-term measures to prepare the EU for such potential price shocks, including increasing investment in renewable energy sources and increasing energy storage capacity. Is. EU officials say the bloc as a whole has the capacity to store more than 20% of its annual gas, but not all member states have storage facilities.

The commission said it would also consider developing a joint procurement program for gas reserves, an idea recently proposed by Spain. The EU is dependent on imported gas, mainly from Russia.

Samson said participation in the joint purchase program would be voluntary “and the scheme should respect the rules of competition.”

EU officials say the 20 member states have already taken over, or are planning to take action to reduce the additional financial pressure. A study by a trade union released last month found that about 33 million EU workers did not have enough money to run a home heating system.

Spain, which, along with Italy and Portugal, has sharply increased energy costs, has already reduced energy taxes, abolished the 7% tax on electricity generation, and reduced energy tariffs on consumers to 5.1. % To 0.5% and reduced sales tax. Domestic energy 21% to 10%

EU experts expect the rise in prices to be temporary but will last throughout the winter, in stark contrast to the extraordinary prices seen last year.

The main reason for the rapid growth is the increase in global demand for energy, especially gas. Earlier this month, natural gas traded nearly five times higher than at the beginning of this year.

The sharp rise in oil and gas prices over the past month has pushed up annual inflation in 19 countries that have used the euro at its highest level in more than a decade.

More generally, the EU believes that rising current prices in the energy sector should accelerate the bloc’s transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Natural gas is an important fuel for power generation, so higher gas prices bring higher electricity bills.

The current crisis has rekindled the debate over whether to promote the EU’s nuclear energy projects as a way to become more energy-efficient by enabling billions of euros as part of the European Green Deal and Corona Virus Recovery Fund. Should.

Two years ago, EU leaders agreed that nuclear energy could become part of the bloc’s efforts to become carbon neutral by 2050. Explain which economic activities may qualify for sustainable investment while avoiding greenwashing.

France recently called for the inclusion of nuclear power in the taxonomy framework by the end of the year, and nine other EU countries – Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. With led charge.

The group faces strong opposition from Germany and four other countries that want to disqualify nuclear energy for green financing. The principle is to ensure that all projects funded by the Epidemic Recovery Fund do not harm the block’s environmental goals.

In a joint letter of opinion this week, ministers from 10 countries insisted that nuclear energy is safe and could act as a response to the current energy crisis.

EU leaders are expected to discuss energy prices at their summit next week.

(AP)

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