Monday, October 4th, 2021
Gas price soared
EU ministers call for measures against energy prices
Winter is just around the corner and energy prices are skyrocketing. Spain, Greece and France are therefore calling for European measures. But France’s plans offend the German position on nuclear power.
Calls for EU measures against the rapidly rising energy prices are getting louder. At a meeting of the finance and economics ministers of the 19 euro countries, the Spanish economics minister Nadia Calvino called for a joint approach. “This is not an issue that we can address at national level. We believe we need a coordinated European response,” Calvino said before the meeting in Luxembourg. Among other things, Spain proposed to create a European strategic energy reserve. The Greek finance minister Christos Staikouras also called for “concrete measures at the European level”.
The French finance minister Bruno Le Maire also called for greater intervention in the energy market, as he believes that electricity prices will continue to rise during the energy transition. “It is necessary to address the situation of the energy market because it is not made for what we want to achieve and that is the fight against climate change,” said Le Maire. We have to regulate gas supplies better and decouple the electricity price from the gas price. Le Maire also spoke out in favor of investing in nuclear energy in this context. “If we want to be successful in the fight against climate change, we need nuclear production, nuclear power plants and more investment in nuclear energy,” he said.
France has repeatedly called for nuclear energy to be viewed by the EU as an environmentally friendly technology. Germany has strictly opposed such a project. The discussions on this are ongoing. “I think it is important to recognize the role of nuclear energy – low carbon energy – in our overall energy mix and decarbonisation efforts,” said EU Economic Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis.
Energy prices – especially the gas price – have risen rapidly since the beginning of the year. According to Eurostat data, they were 17.4 percent higher in the euro area in September than a year earlier. Several Member States have already intervened at national level to protect households from unsustainable electricity and heating bills.