Will the (European) Union be strong? The European Commission will encourage states to lower energy taxes and redistribute the benefits of rising prices to the most disadvantaged through various tools at their disposal, Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said on Monday.
“All the States will (…) benefit from this situation because there are a lot of taxes on energy”, he said at the microphone of France Inter, adding that Brussels would “encourage [chaque Etat] to lower these taxes to redistribute to the most disadvantaged ”.
A “common approach” and temporary measures
Brussels is due to unveil an arsenal of temporary measures on Wednesday to deal with rising energy prices, but we will have to wait for the next summit of EU heads of state and government on October 21 and 22, to discuss longer term adaptations. Spain, France, the Czech Republic, Greece and Romania are calling for a “common approach”.
Paris wants a major revision of the electricity market, in particular the setting of prices considered too dependent on the prices of fossil fuels, while Madrid offers “group purchases” of gas.
We must expect “six months of tension”
According to Thierry Breton, we should expect “six months of tension” and put the tools in place to allow 36 million penalized European households to “get through this difficult period”. “We have a whole range of tools that will be recalled precisely to each of the States and we will really encourage them” to use them, he added.
Referring to the measures already put in place by the various governments – lower taxes, energy checks, targeted aid for the poorest or even price freeze – the Commissioner indicated that the Commission would give States “the possibility of also lowering the VAT ”, which some have already announced.
Thieery Breton recalled this Monday “the importance” of having a common electricity market and the interconnection of European networks. But he underlined that it was “necessary to work now together to have an energy mix which makes it possible to fight the volatility” linked to the growing share of renewable energies such as wind power.