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EU proposals to curb hovering vitality costs are too “timid” and will result in a “break in confidence” in European establishments, Spanish Power Minister Teresa Ribera mentioned on Wednesday. throughout an interview with AFP on the eve of a summit of European leaders.
Power costs and inflation surged throughout the 27 European Union international locations as Moscow reduce fuel provides, reportedly in response to EU sanctions over Ukraine’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia in February.
With winter approaching, the European Fee, the manager arm of the EU, is beneath intense strain to deal with hovering family and enterprise heating payments.
On Tuesday, he unveiled his newest proposals which emphasize joint buying between EU international locations to higher impose decrease costs to fill fuel reserves.
“The proposals are, for my part, nonetheless too timid: we nonetheless lack concrete measures on the overwhelming majority of matters,” Ribera mentioned.
Whereas there was a ‘real effort’ to deal with the vitality disaster over the previous 12 months, it’s ‘irritating to see’ that ‘Europe’s response to this problem is sluggish and laborious’ , she added.
Spain, the eurozone’s fourth-largest financial system, has been one of many loudest voices inside the bloc calling for vigorous reform of the EU’s vitality market.
The fee’s newest plan – which will probably be mentioned at a two-day summit of EU leaders beginning Thursday in Brussels – doesn’t embrace a right away cap on fuel costs.
A big group of EU international locations, led by Italy, have pushed for a type of worth cap, opposed by Germany which fears it’ll scare off different suppliers who’ve stepped in to exchange Russia because the block’s principal supply of fuel.
“I feel it is essential to go a bit sooner on this difficulty,” Ribera mentioned.
“We should not need to ask the Fee for a similar factor 4 occasions to have a proposal. However I’m satisfied that the Fee will pace up and make the proposals. It will be dangerous to not take the selections in time.”
Hovering vitality costs have fueled giant protests in a number of European international locations towards rising inflation and to demand increased wages.
“The vitality disaster creates a troublesome scenario for households and for the productive material. If we do not react rapidly sufficient, there could also be a breakdown in confidence in European establishments,” Ribera mentioned.
“The present scenario is a vital stress take a look at for Europe,” she added.
Ribera mentioned she was “reasonably optimistic” about Spain’s capability to persuade France to raise its opposition to the development of a brand new fuel pipeline by means of the Pyrenees.
As Russia withholds fuel provides to most of Europe in response to sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine, there was renewed curiosity – significantly from Germany – for a hyperlink to deliver much-needed provides from Spain to the remainder of the continent.
Plans for such a pipeline, referred to as MidCat, emerged a decade in the past however had been shelved in 2019 as a consequence of regulatory and funding points.
“We respect and perceive a few of France’s arguments however not all of them,” Ribera mentioned.
“It is very important discover a European resolution to the issue and that the request for assist from Germany and the opposite member states is heard.”