Cars Tax Supports and Price Brake: The EU Fight against High Energy Prices

17:35  04 october  2021
17:35  04 october  2021 Source:   tagesspiegel.de

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For months, climbing the cost of gas and oil. Some states in the EU now engage in protecting households in winter from priceless heating costs.

Die Energiekosten schießen derzeit in die Höhe. Auf EU-Ebene berät man über Lösungen für die Verbraucher. © Jan Waitas / ZB / DPA The energy costs are currently shooting. At EU level, one advises on solutions for consumers.

Europe's consumer moan among the high energy costs. Prices are most recently risen in some countries that some governments have already explained to relieve consumers with tax cuts or subsidies. France has announced a tariff brake for electricity and gas and wants to pay poorer households per 100 euros. Italy wants to spend three billion euros to issue households part of their electricity and gas bills, such as tax cuts.

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In Germany, the increase in electricity and gas prices in the first half of the year, according to the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden, was almost five percent. Electricity cost for private households on average 32.62 cents per kilowatt hour, natural gas 6.41 cents per kilowatt hour.

Europe's governments observe the development with some concern and have raised the topic at the current meeting of financial and economic ministers of the 19 euro countries in Luxembourg as the first point on the agenda. In addition, the heads of state and government of the EU Member States want to discuss the development of energy prices on 21 and 22 October at their summit on 21 and 22 October. President Charles Michel has set the point in view of the dramatic price increase to the agenda, a spokesman of the European Council said.

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different factors drive the price

for increasing energy prices there are several factors. One reason is the increased demand for energy , which in this case is actually good news. Because after the Corona crisis, the economy in many countries has surprisingly recovered quickly and production could be raised in the companies. The increase in VAT to the original rate of 19 percent at the beginning of the year has also led to a noticeable increase in the price of consumers. In order to boost consumption in the corona crisis, the federal government had reduced the VAT limited from 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2020 to 16 percent.

[If you want to have all the current developments to the coronavirus pandemic live on your phone, we recommend our app that you can download here for Apple and Android devices .]

, however, obviously the current climate protection measures in the Wallet of consumers down. The price of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the trade in emission rights has risen, which makes power generation from coal unattractive power, but also electricity more expensive, if there are no alternatives. In the EU emissions trading system, electrician providers must pay for the emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2.

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Finally, the supply of energy has also fallen at the same time - for example by drought in Brazil, where much electricity is produced from hydropower. Then the winter was particularly hard, which were reduced by reserves. The gas storage in Germany and Europe are below average shortly before winter, explain many energy suppliers.

The political calculus behind the price

But also political calculus is likely to have influence on the gas price at the moment. This includes the tug of the controversial Baltic Seapipeline Nord Stream 2 . It is a prestigious project of Russia and should be put into operation according to the will Moscow as soon as possible.

The Russian gas producer Gazprom, according to the experts, has met its existing supply contracts with Europe, but the demand also does not operate despite the attractive prices. For further uncertainty ensures that Gazprom has hired the gastransite over Ukraine to Hungary and now uses a bypass line through the Black Sea.

The Spanish head of government Pedro Sánchez hopes in the fight against rising energy prices on the solidarity of the other EU countries. He suggested the Union to negotiate as a block with the suppliers. A joint purchasing and a "strategic gas reserve in Europe" could improve the negotiation power of all EU states, said Sánchez. Spain is particularly affected by the rising prices. In order to cushion the social impact, Madrid has temporarily reduced VAT to electricity. The EU Commission has signals its approval of such auxiliary measures.

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