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S&D: The burden of rising energy prices cannot fall on the shoulders of Europe’s most vulnerable households

Date

06 Oct 2021

Sections

Energy

The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament ask the European Commission to present a plan as soon as possible in order to mitigate the impact of soaring energy prices on European households and businesses, and to eradicate energy poverty. The S&Ds expect measures to remove undue taxes and levies for electricity in order to ensure taxation is harmonised throughout Europe. During the debate in the EP plenary on the issue of rising energy prices and the need to tackle energy poverty, the S&Ds welcomed decisive measures taken by a range of European governments, like the Spanish, aiming at easing the situation for the most vulnerable citizens and businesses. Yet, they noted that the EU and the European Commission should not leave national governments alone, and an EU strategy and concrete steps in the mid- and long-term should follow the short-term urgent measures taken now by member states.

According to the S&D Group in the EP, the crisis with the energy prices should not lower the EU’s ambitions for fighting climate change. On the contrary, the S&D Group believes that the EU Green Deal is part of the solution. The S&Ds expressed their disappointment with the decision of other political groups, mainly in the right-wing political sector, to reject the idea for a resolution following the debate in plenary, where all ideas and calls to the European Commission are put on paper. In the S&Ds’ opinion, this shows how many others in the European Parliament underestimate a problem that is poignant to so many Europeans and businesses.

Iratxe García Pérez, president of the S&D Group, said:

“This is a fundamental and urgent debate. We need short-term as well as structural measures. The price of energy is not a national issue. The rules are set at the European level, so the solutions to this crisis must also be European. The citizens who cannot afford to pay their energy bills are looking to us now, and they expect a solution.

“We want the Commission to present a specific plan so that member states can not only co-ordinate their policies, but also use the single-market leverage to purchase energy at a fair price, just like we did with the Covid-19 vaccines. And, we must stop speculation in the ETS carbon market. Big energy companies must stop speculating with the price of CO₂-emission allowances.”

Dan Nica, Romanian MEP and S&D spokesperson on the matter of soaring energy prices, said:

“In my country alone, Romania, more than 1 million families cannot afford to pay their gas and electricity bills while we are not even at the beginning of the cold winter months. Moreover, this is not just a Romanian problem. It is exactly for this reason that this pan-EU problem should get a pan-EU response. We count on the European Commission to step up and prove in practice that it stands behind Europeans in hard times such as these.

“Our group reiterates that no efforts should be spared in order to eradicate energy poverty. In order to achieve this, we, the Socialists and Democrats, call for a plan to freeze energy bills and prevent speculations on the European carbon market. I have no doubts on the need for the European Commission to carry out an assessment of the wholesale electricity market and, if needed, to reform it in order to make it more resilient to speculations.

“All talks of European strategic autonomy from the rest of the world players are in vain as long as we are exposed to the current huge level of fluctuations. It is my deep conviction we need a co-ordinated mechanism between member states for buying common energy stocks and for setting up joint strategic reserves.”

 

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