Ahead of an emergency Energy Council meeting this Friday, the EPP Group calls for concrete measures to address rising energy prices for people and businesses, such as the decoupling of electricity prices from gas, investments in the EU energy infrastructure, a price cap on Russian fuels, zero VAT for basic food products and better solidarity between EU Member States.
“We need to strengthen the EU energy market. Only investments in the European energy infrastructure will send the perspective signals to the markets which could drop energy prices. We urge the Council not to fall back into intergovernmental reflexes, which would lead to fragmentation and finally, insufficient national strategies”, said Christian Ehler MEP, the EPP Group Spokesman in Parliament’s Energy Committee.
“Solidarity and responsibility need to go hand in hand. It’s urgent that Member States do whatever it takes to maintain or increase their domestic energy production and to delay the phase-out of energy sources as long as the crisis lasts, for example for nuclear energy”, said Esther de Lange MEP, the EPP Group Vice-Chairwoman in charge of Economy and Environment. “For instance, the consequence of the German Government’s decision to stick to the nuclear phase-out in the midst of the worst energy crisis is very simple. Germany will buy more gas on the free market, which will drive up the price even more for everyone. In this crisis, we simply don’t have the luxury to choose which energy source we prefer”, she said.
The EPP Group also calls on EU Member States to use their market power to agree on a price cap on Russian gas and oil only. Broadly speaking, the EPP Group is in favour of market-based solutions and against market interventions. However, at this moment in time with exceptionally high gas prices, such a measure may be a way out of this crisis. For the EPP Group, it is crucial that the burden of rising prices is lifted from European families.
“EU legislation already provides Member States with a range of options to combat high prices, for example by lowering energy taxes, excise duties and VAT on food. A VAT exemption should apply to fruit, vegetables, dairy and other basic, primary food products across the EU, should prices continue to rise in the winter”, said Markus Ferber MEP, the EPP Group Spokesman in the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee.
“Rising costs of living are not only a matter of energy policy, but also of monetary policy. Over the past months, we have seen not only actual inflation rising, but also long-term inflation expectations. Higher inflation expectations can easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy once they translate into higher wage and price growth. This is why energy policy needs to be backed by decisive action from the European Central Bank”, Ferber stressed.