EU energy plans to raise €140B to protect households, says Ursula von der LeyenComments
The European Commission's energy plans will give member states "the financial firepower" to protect vulnerable households and businesses over the winter, Ursula von der Leyen told Euronews in an interview following her annual State of the Union speech.
Earlier during that address, the Commission chief presented three proposals to bring electricity costs down for Europeans including a cap on the excess revenues of non-gas electricity producers as well as a windfall tax to recoup some of the "extraordinary" profits fossil fuels companies are making.
She told Euronews that with these measures, the EU "now is giving member states the financial firepower to financially support the vulnerable households and vulnerable businesses."
According to the Commission's calculations, these two measures should raise more than €140 billion.
These actions, she said, would come on top of other measures already rolled out such as a mandatory gas storage requirement which the majority of member states have already fulfilled and voluntary gas use reduction plans that are aimed at ensuring the bloc can power itself through the winter.
On the hotly-debated issue of a cap on gas prices, she said that the EU was negotiating with Norway, which currently supplies more gas to the bloc than Russia.
She said they had started "to discuss how we can have a common approach to stable, lower gas prices".
But Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre has cast doubt on the feasibility of a cap on gas price.
"We're going into the talks with an open mind but are sceptical towards a maximum price on natural gas," he said in a statement.
"A maximum price would not solve the fundamental problem, which is that there is too little gas in Europe."
Von der Leyen also argued that a "big reform of the electricity market is the next step to come" to decouple the price of gas from the price of electricity in the EU.