Brussels infighting erupts in blame game as unprecedented energy crisis engulfs EU

Brussels infighting threatens to erupt as energy crisis

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The energy crisis engulfing much of Europe has sparked tensions among European Union member-states. The unprecedented spike in EU energy prices has ignited a blame game, as member-states have urged the EU to get a grip on the crisis. Some member-states have blamed Russia for deliberately restricting gas supplies, while others have pinned the crisis on Brussels’ plans for a green economic overhaul.

European gas prices surged to all-time highs on Friday, with prices at the Dutch TTF hub, a European benchmark, soaring by an unprecedented 400 percent.

This comes as member-states scrambled to impose emergency measures to cushion the impact.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex pledged to freeze gas prices for consumers, vowing that “there will be no more increases to the gas price”. 

Spain and Italy have both urged the European Commission to devise plans to help member states react to power price spikes.

Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi said Europe needed to strengthen its bargaining power to help curb power and gas price rises.

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France24’s Emerald Maxwell explained: “Demand has not been matched by increased supply.

“There are suspicions that Russia, where most of Europe’s natural gas comes from, is deliberately restricting its offer to pressure Europe to sign off on Nord Stream 2.

“Fingers are also being pointed at European climate policy which means Europe is less able to turn to coal-fired plants, and renewable energy isn’t yet plugging the gap.

“The EU, in turn, blames the continent’s dependence on gas.”

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The European commissioner for energy Kadri Simson said this week: “We have to end our dependence on foreign fossil fuels as soon as possible.”

The crisis is set to come to a head when EU environment ministers meet on 6th October.

The energy crunch is also expected to dominate a summit of EU heads of government next month.

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Poland has already called for Brussels to pull back on a planned green agenda.

A spokesman for the Polish government said: “Energy prices are currently soaring across the EU and putting unprecedented pressure on both energy companies and on our citizens.

“When designing energy and climate policies, we have to ensure their social acceptability, otherwise we risk their failure.”

In response, Frans Timmermans, the European Commission’s vice-president, rebuked Poland: “Instead of being paralysed or slowing things down because of the price hike now in the energy sector, we should speed things up in the transition to renewable energy so that affordable renewable energy becomes available for everyone.”

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