EU Commission presents toolbox to counter energy price spike

Brussels, Oct 14 (IANS): The European Commission is tackling an exceptional rise in energy prices with a "toolbox" of short and medium-term measures to help citizens and businesses get through the winter.

The toolbox is part of a "Communication on Energy Prices", adopted on Wednesday, and aims to address the immediate impact of current price increases, and further strengthen resilience against future shocks, reports Xinhua news agency.

"Rising global energy prices are a serious concern for the EU," said European Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson.

"As we emerge from the pandemic and begin our economic recovery, it is important to protect vulnerable consumers and support European companies."

The spike in energy prices is set to last through the winter, the Commission said, and therefore it wants to help member states to take immediate measures to reduce the impact on households and businesses.

These measures include emergency income support to households, state aid for companies, and targeted tax reductions.

Medium-term measures include supporting investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency; possible measures on energy storage and purchasing of gas reserves; and assessing the current electricity market design.

The current situation is exceptional and the internal energy market has served the bloc well for the past 20 years, Simson said.

However, the climate goals of the European Green Deal need to be met, and energy independence must be boosted.

The Commission said priority should be given to targeted measures that can rapidly mitigate the impact of price rises for vulnerable consumers and small businesses.

It said these measures should be easily adjustable in the Spring, when the situation is expected to stabilise.

"The clean energy transition is the best insurance against price shocks in the future, and needs to be accelerated," the Commission said.

The Communication will be presented to European lawmakers on Thursday, and to Energy Ministers later this month.



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