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Germany And 8 Other EU Countries Reject Calls For Market Reform To Curb Energy Crunch

Germany And 8 Other EU Countries Reject Calls For Market Reform To Curb Energy Crunch

A group of nine EU countries, led by Germany, have expressed their outright opposition to the growing calls for far-reaching reforms of the bloc's energy market, a cause championed by Spain and France to tackle the ongoing energy crunch and curb soaring electricity bills. In a letter released ahead of a meeting of energy ministers, the signatories come out in defence of the free market and reject any "ad hoc reform" that can interfere with the existing rules.

Instead, the nine make the case for "temporary and targeted national actions" to protect vulnerable consumers and struggling companies that can be rolled out throughout the winter and then be gradually phased out in spring, when prices of natural gas are expected to decrease. The statement was endorsed by Germany, Luxembourg, Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia and the Netherlands.

Their cautious, short-term approach was already proposed two weeks ago by the European Commission, which put forward a "toolbox" of targeted measures, such as income support, state aid and tax reductions, that member states can introduce to palliate the energy crisis.

The nine nations share the Commission's analysis that the ongoing situation is mainly caused by basic market dynamics: countries recovering from the pandemic around the world are thirsty for energy to kickstart their economic activity but the stronger demand hasn't been met by stronger supplies, leading to a pronounced hike in natural gas prices.

"As the price spikes have global drivers, we should be very careful before interfering in the design of the internal energy market," they warn. "This will not be a remedy to mitigate the current rising energy prices linked to fossil fuels markets." The group of nine say that, rather than pursuing reforms, the EU should focus on the deployment of renewable energy, the promotion of "market mechanisms" and the interconnection of electricity markets between member states to make the bloc more prepared to withstand price shocks.

"A well-managed energy transition is not the cause, but part of the solution to keep prices affordable and predictable," they write. In recent weeks, countries like Poland and Hungary have attacked the EU's climate policies for allegedly exacerbating the energy crunch.

 

Source: Euronews

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