Energy price.  Brussels wants to investigate 'possible anti-competitive behavior'

The European Commission considers that the rise in energy prices requires “a rapid and coordinated response” at European level. This Wednesday, Brussels presented a set of guidelines, through which it intends to “help citizens and companies” to face the “exceptional increase” in global energy prices, which should remain “during the winter”.

In a communication adopted this fourth. at the meeting of the college of commissioners, Brussels details a set of measures, “that the EU and its member states can use to address the immediate impact of current price increases and further strengthen resilience against future shocks”.

The national measures are expected to have an “immediate” impact, with “emergency aid to household income, state aid for companies and specific tax reductions” being suggested.

The European Commission defends investments in “renewable energies and energy efficiency”, and calls for “possible measures on energy storage and purchase of gas reserves” to be evaluated.

In the short term, Brussels proposes eight courses of action to soften the impact of the increase in energy prices, at the end of the month.

Governments should therefore “ensure emergency income for consumers in energy poverty, for example through vouchers or partial bill payments. [de energia]”, which can be realized through revenues from the European carbon emissions market.

“Authorizing temporary postponement of bill payments” is another measure aimed at families.

Governments must put in place a “protection” mechanism to prevent “network disconnects”.

In terms of taxes, Brussels suggests adopting “temporary reductions in tax rates, aimed at the most vulnerable families”.

For companies and industry, the Commission admits that State aid is provided “in accordance with EU rules” in this matter.

“Increasing the international reach of energy to ensure the transparency, liquidity and flexibility of international markets”, suggests the Commission.

Brussels also wants “possible anti-competitive behavior in the energy market to be investigated” and will ask the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) to “strengthen the monitoring of the evolution of the carbon market”.

Brussels considers that “wider access to renewable energy purchase contracts, providing support through accompanying measures” should be facilitated.

Mid-term

The Commission advocates speeding up the “clean energy transition” as the “best insurance against future price shocks”.

“The EU will continue to develop an efficient energy system with a high share of renewable energy”, as other energy sources, such as gas, “are still needed in times of greater demand”. For that reason, “gas still sets the general price of electricity” in today’s market.

The EU currently has storage capacity for “more than 20% of its annual gas usage”, stresses the commission, being aware that “not all Member States have storage facilities and their usage and obligations maintenance vary”.

Thus, it proposes to “intensify investments in renewables, improve energy efficiency and streamline renewable auctions and licensing processes.” “Develop energy storage capacity, to support participation in the development of renewable energies, including batteries and hydrogen”, the Commission said.

Brussels believes that European energy regulators should “study the advantages and disadvantages of the existing electricity market model” and propose “recommendations to the Commission, where appropriate”.

The committee also believes that “the potential benefits of voluntary joint acquisition by Member States of gas reserves should be explored”.

The Commissioner of Energy, Kadri Simson promised, “by the end of the year”, to present a reform of the gas market, having planned in that context to analyze issues of storage and security of supply.

“We also need to be mindful of the importance of energy geopolitics and develop a more strategic approach to foreign energy policy,” said commissioner Kadri Simson.

News updated at 12:16 pm

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