EU Leaders To Discuss Rising Energy Prices At Next Summit

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EU leaders will get together in three weeks to discuss soaring energy prices and how to mitigate their impact on European consumers, European Council President Charles Michel’s office said on Thursday.

The “important topic” has been added to the agenda of a summit taking place on October 21 and 22, said Michel’s spokesman, Barend Leyts.

While the short-term impact being felt by households and businesses is primarily for individual EU countries to tackle, “we need to discuss how the EU can help,” Leyts said in a statement.

A surge in energy prices across Europe, driven largely by a three-fold jump in wholesale gas prices, is exacerbating fears of high inflation as the EU’s economy bounces back strongly from the Covid-19 pandemic.

It also threatens to undermine an EU push towards a low-carbon future that entails a profound transformation of many sectors — and with it, bigger costs for Europeans.

EU envoys and representatives have already been addressing the issue, which they deem “critical”, and the European Commission has also taken it up.

Some lawmakers in the European Parliament accuse Russia, which accounts for much of the gas imported into the EU, of manipulating prices in an effort to get Germany to activate the newly completed Nord Stream 2 pipeline across the Baltic, bypassing Ukraine.

Russia’s gas giant Gazprom denies that but has allowed its gas tanks in Europe to drop to nearly empty.

The EU is considering short-term measures such as cutting value-added tax and excises on energy, in a bid to protect its medium- and long-term plans for more renewable energy sources and better energy efficiency.

AFP

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