A package of short and medium-term measures to respond to soaring energy prices and thus reach out to businesses and households. This is the response adopted by the European Commission, which has developed a series of actions aimed at reducing the impact of price increases on the economic system and the social fabric of the Member States.
The Commission has adopted a communication on energy prices which gives priority to targeted measures that can quickly mitigate the effect of increases on vulnerable consumers and small businesses. These measures should be easily recalibrated in the spring, when the situation is expected to stabilise, and should not hamper the long-term transition and investments in cleaner energy sources.
These are the immediate actions to protect consumers and businesses indicated by the European Commission:
- provide emergency support to energy-poverty consumers' income, for example through vouchers or partial payments of bills, which can be financed from the proceeds of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS);
- authorise temporary extensions for the payment of bills;
- prearrange safeguard measures to prevent disconnection of users from the electricity grid;
- temporarily introduce targeted redfuctions of tax rates for vulnerable families;
- providing aid to businesses and industries in line with EU State aid rules;
- intensify international energy dialogue in order to ensure the transparency, liquidity and flexibility of international markets;
- investigate potential anti-competitive behaviour in the energy market and instruct the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) to monitor carbon market developments even more closely;
- facilitate access to agreements on the purchase and sale of electricity from renewable sources and provide for accompanying measures.