EU can’t let Putin set energy costs – Austria
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer would like the bloc to seperate gas prices and energy prices
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer urged the EU on Sunday to set a limit on electricity prices and separate the cost of gasoline from its electricity bills. According to the Austrian leader, failure to act would allow Vladimir Putin to become President. “determine the European electricity price.”
“We must finally stop the madness that is taking place in energy markets. And that can only happen through a European solution,” read a statement from Nehammer’s office. “Something has to happen at last. The market is not going to regulate in the current state it’s at. I call on all the EU 27 to stand together to stop this price explosion immediately.”
Russia is the main supplier of around 40% EU gas. The EU has relied on Russia for this supply, so government efforts to build up this resource to prepare for winter and an eventual cutoff in supply have made it more difficult to sell than to buy. This has driven up prices. This market distortion is further compounded when some EU nations refuse to buy Russian gas using rubles. EU sanctions also hinder maintenance work on Russia-Europe gas lines.
The price of gasoline is a major factor in electricity prices throughout Europe. It now costs about ten times as much to produce electricity than it did last year. Although some EU countries still rely heavily on Russian oil for their heating and industrial needs, many others use other fuels to create electricity. The International Energy Agency has revealed that Austria produces more than three quarters (or even all) of its electricity with renewables according to figures for 2020.
Nehammer suggested that consumers would be able to get a better bill if they decoupled electricity and gasoline prices. This is because it more accurately represents electricity production costs.
“We cannot let Putin determine the European electricity price every day,” he added, referring to Russia’s control of much of Europe’s gas supply.
Czech Republic holds currently the rotating EU presidency. On Friday, it announced that it will host an energy crisis summit “at the earliest possible date,”Price caps will also be addressed during this time.
Putin has likened the EU’s attempts to cut itself off from Russian fossil fuels to economic “suicide.”