European Commission announces plan to ease Europe’s gas crisis

DM

The European Commission has announced a package of measures to alleviate an energy price surge that has sent bills skyrocketing across Europe. The approval of tax cuts and the joint purchase of fuel by the EU members were among the proposals put forward. Energy prices have hit record highs for various reasons, including high demand for natural gas as economies recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. The European Commission has been under pressure to act on the price crunch. The wholesale price of gas has increased by 250% since January, triggering a knock-on spike in costs for consumers and businesses. On Wednesday the Commission’s energy chief, Kadri Simson, said the EU’s executive was responding to calls for action by unveiling an “energy price toolbox”. The toolbox outlines steps member states can take to reduce energy bills in their countries without breaching EU law. It mostly confirms the measures national governments can already use, but considers what more the Commission can do. Ms Simson said member states were best placed to ease the burden of rising energy prices as winter approaches. She urged EU countries to consider emergency income support for vulnerable households, state aid for companies, and targeted tax reductions.

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