Initially, she did not want to get involved, arguing that only member states can work to protect their economies from the damaging effects of soaring energy prices. Several governments had to raise their voices, starting with France and Spain, but also the countries of Central Europe, Greece and, to a lesser extent, Italy, for the European Commission to take hold. , reluctantly, of the subject. On Wednesday, October 13, it was to present its proposals to mitigate the effects of this energy crisis, which threatens both the return to growth in Europe and the agenda for the fight against climate change of the Twenty-Seven.
In the short term, it is true, the community executive is helpless. On Wednesday, he was to repeat that nothing in community regulations (state aid, taxation) prevents member states from rushing to the aid of households and businesses most affected by the surge in their gas and gas bills. ‘electricity. Twenty member states, including France, Italy, Spain, Greece and the Netherlands have already announced measures to cut VAT, aid to the most modest households, subsidies to businesses or tariff freeze.
In passing, the Commission recalled that around a third of the electricity bill of Europeans is attributable to taxes, a third to distributors and a third to the price of energy. Clearly, when prices go up, state revenues too, as well as the revenues of suppliers, most often in the public sphere, and governments can dig into this. “Pot”, as a senior official said, to lighten the bill for citizens and businesses. “For EDF, this crisis is an excellent deal”, comments a diplomat. “Since the start of the year, VAT and internal consumption tax revenues on energy products have represented a surplus of 700 million euros for Bercy”, details another European source.
Other likely inflationary surges
In addition, the Commission points out that the revenues from the ETS (Emissions Trading System) market – on which manufacturers buy tonnes of CO2 under the polluter pays principle – which goes into the coffers of the Twenty-Seven, have also increased, by nearly 11 billion euros over one year. And can be used, too, to alleviate the effects of the energy crisis.
In the medium term, the Commission is now showing itself to be more cooperative. Despite the reluctance of certain commissioners and several capitals, starting with Berlin, The Hague and the countries of the North, it no longer rules out reforming the European energy market. Even if, as she repeats, the latter “Has proven its effectiveness, in particular by ensuring flawless supply, since Europe is the only place in the world where there is never a blackout”, the current crisis has brought to light some of its deficiencies.
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