Energy crisis - EU leaders dither as bills soar
European leaders met today to discuss, among other things, the rising energy prices. A debate that began – belatedly – in October, prompted by the sky high energy bills faced by people living in Europe. Although the discussion went on for hours, the leaders were unable to reach a conclusion. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, said that the issue was postponed to “a future meeting”. A failure for the people of Europe who are bearing the brunt of a volatile energy market.
MEP Sira Rego (Izquierda Unida, Spain) said: “The Council and Commission continue to turn their backs on the working class, and are hell bent on defending the marginalist market model. This model generates windfall benefits for large energy companies, artificially inflates prices, and hampers the integration of renewable energies, essential for the fight against climate change. Council and Commission know that reforming the energy market is necessary and possible, but they do not want to. They will have to explain whose interests they are serving”.
In both the energy and health crises, EU leaders are following the same approach: blind faith in the market, protecting corporate profits over people’s lives.
“The rising gas price makes ongoing long-term contracts less profitable for gas suppliers,” said MEP Cornelia Ernst (Die Linke, Germany). “In an effort to protect their profits, gas suppliers in Germany are ruthlessly terminating long-term contracts with approximately 400,000 customers, who are then forced to sign more expensive contracts with new providers, often paying more than double. What kind of system do we live in that puts profits before people? Energy is a public good and belongs in public ownership”.
The sky-high energy prices are not the result of an unpredictable emergency, they are the direct result of a distorted market, allowing cheap renewable energy to be sold at the price of expensive fossil fuels, such as gas.
MEP Marisa Matias (Bloco de Esquerda, Portugal) said: “In recent decades we have witnessed way too many cases of revolving doors between politics and energy companies, while today we are facing skyrocketing energy prices with total impunity for the companies setting them. Access to energy is a fundamental and basic right. Only a publicly managed model can guarantee this right for people while respecting the planet. The fundamental question is: does the European Union really want to act or does it prefer to continue pretending?”