Brdo pri Kranju – EU ministers in charge of energy discussed at an informal session on Wednesday ways to tackle rising power and gas prices that several ministers said were “critical”.
European Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson said the Commission could validate “short-term temporary measures” to tackle the effects of the rising prices.
“In the short run, there are several member states that are ready to introduce short-term temporary measures to protect their vulnerable consumers,” she said.
She listed tax and excise policies, targeted measures for the energy poor, temporary measures for households and small companies, and direct support for consumers as measures that would be “in accordance with EU regulations”.
Kadri told the energy ministers to devise “a more structured toolbox” of measures within weeks.
In the long term, she said the solution was contained in the Fit for 55 package, which includes directives on the promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency that energy ministers discussed for the first time today.
Kadri acknowledged that this was a “demanding package,” but said the bloc had agreed to these objectives and there was no alternative.
Slovenian Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec, who chaired the meeting, described Fit for 55 as a much needed step forward and said the general consensus was that the package was good.
“But I see we have quite a bit of work ahead of us regarding the detailed provisions of the legislative proposals currently on the table.”
“Obviously the member states and the Commission need some more time to better understand how individual proposals affect other proposals. The debate on Fit for 55 has only just begun,” he said.
Vrtovec said there was agreement that the energy transition must be just and that “we cannot afford to lose the strong support that Europe’s citizens are expressing at this point to the transition to climate neutrality.”
For the afternoon session the energy ministers were joined by transport ministers and Transport Commissioner Adina Valean for a discussion on e-mobility.
Vrtovec said all member states had ambitious plans for charging infrastructure and increasing uptake of electric vehicles.
“We have to make sure that energy networks provide sufficient support for [charging]. At the same time, we will have to secure sufficient production of electricity from renewable sources to hit Green Deal emission targets,” he said.
Commissioner Valean noted that a quadrupling of the existing number of charging stations was needed until 2025 to meet the demand of the growing fleet of EVs.
This will require better connectivity and clean energy for charging. “The EU will support these investments.”