A European Way Out Of The Energy Crisis - Thomas Waitz

A European way out of the energy crisis

Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine has once again made us painfully aware of our dependence on fossil fuels, especially from Russia. The consequence of this dependence is now reflected in the ever-increasing proces for electricity and gas all over Europe. The energy crisis particularly affects the poorest people in Europe and is thus also a threat to social peace. It is now important to help people quickly and to mitigate the consequences.

Fortunately the European Commission recognised the scale of the crisis and presented a legislative proposal at the end of September 2022 to protect Europeans from the potentially devastating effects of the crisis. However, initial plans for an EU-wide levy for windfall profits, which should be shared in solidarity between all Member States through a European pot, were quickly buried shortly before publication at the pressure of EU Heads of State. This is fatal. Although the Commission’s proposals present first good steps in the right direction, we urgently need a European model for a levy on windfall profits of energy and food companies. These funds must then be redistributed via a common pot so that they can be used in a socially and exconomically targeted manner and people can be sustainably be supported. This is the only way we can really overcome the crisis.

The Commission must no longer bow to the Member States, but must lead through the crisis in a future-oriented manner. In addition to an immediate price cap on all fossil fuels and a joint gas purchase with capped prices, national immediate measures, such as the suspension of rental indexation for thermally unrenovated houses, would be a quick way to reduce the burden on tenants.