The European Union has reached agreement in principle on an anti-crisis plan, which should alleviate the consequences of a shortage of energy supplies to the states of the political bloc. All EU countries on Friday approved the imposition of emergency charges on excess profits of energy companies, and also decided to impose a tax on those power generation companies that have low production costs, due to which they began to receive "unexpectedly high profits." The bloc's decision is reported by Reuters.
The new tax will be collected from companies in 2022 and 2023, the tax rate is not named, however, most likely, it will be set by each state independently. The countries also reached agreement in principle on a deliberate reduction in energy consumption by 5% during peak prices - this should help reduce the load on energy systems and bring down prices. The publication notes that the next step of the agreements is countermeasures in emergency situations.
“All these temporary measures are good, but in order to find a solution that will help our citizens in this energy crisis, we need to limit the price of gas,” Croatian Economy Minister Davor Filipović said.
The basic option, which is being worked out by representatives of the countries, is the introduction of a ceiling on gas prices. Most countries are confident that such a measure will stop the uncontrolled rise in energy prices in the event of an acute shortage. These measures are supported by 15 countries, and the leaders of the lobbying group are France, Poland, Belgium and Italy. They insist that the price ceiling should be flexible in order to be able to quickly respond to changes in market conditions at any time.
At the same time, Belgian Energy Minister Tinne van der Straeten insists that the effect of these measures will not be so painful, since market purchases of gas in Europe are small and are estimated at about €2 billion, and the financial effect of the new tax, which should mitigate the consequences of the energy crisis - at €140 billion. However, this argument does not convince the representatives of Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and some other countries - they fear that gas price caps will not allow their states to urgently purchase fuel on international markets if it is needed, since no one will want it deliver under the terms of the "price ceiling".
The introduction of a price ceiling for Russian gas due to a sharp decrease in supplies is practically not discussed, but it still finds opponents from the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, which continue to receive energy resources from Russia. Another option for dealing with emergencies that countries are discussing is the introduction of a gas price ceiling only for companies that use fuel for power generation.
For many European countries, the energy crisis has become a real test, but Germany has suffered the most as a result of the reduction in Russian energy supplies. The German authorities yesterday approved another large-scale loan package, which should mitigate the consequences of the crisis for German citizens and businesses, but experts warn that the country is still on the verge of an exodus of large companies to other jurisdictions.