A majority of EU countries have significant levels of energy poverty and are unable to keep all their citizens warm this winter, according to new research by Open Exp released today by the European Right to Energy coalition.

Commenting on the findings, the Green/EFA Group co-president in the European Parliament and co-leading candidate of the European Green Party Ska Keller said:

“This report underlines the urgent need for Europe to address energy poverty as a key issue. It is unacceptable that people in southern and eastern Europe should stop heating their homes due to disproportionately high costs. We have to make energy more affordable for the vulnerable. The EU must introduce an energy allowance, which is financed by a tax on CO2 that would especially benefit poorer households.

“The European Union must also guarantee that successful energy efficiency practices addressing energy poverty are adopted and rolled out across Europe. EU funds have already been used in many regions for the renovation of public buildings, but funding schemes should be more focused on social housing and private rents of energy poor households in order to meet anti-poverty and energy efficiency targets,” she concluded.

“Everybody should have a right to affordable energy which is why the EU must explore a disconnection moratorium to make sure that no household is deprived of essential heating or cooling services. Big energy companies cannot be allowed to hold people hostage to spiraling energy costs, especially in regions they consider to be of marginal economic interest.  The EU must guarantee that nobody falls through the cracks by capping excessive costs, promoting free and independent energy advice and empowering citizens to play a more active role in energy generation,” added Dutch MEP and European Green Party co-leading candidate Bas Eickhout.

“It is only by investing in a Green economy and making sure that big companies take their share of responsibility that we will be able to offset the damaging effects of climate change whilst simultaneously making our utility bills more affordable,” Eickhout said.