Motion for a resolution - B9-0417/2022Motion for a resolution
B9-0417/2022

    MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the EU’s response to the increase in energy prices in Europe

    28.9.2022 - (2022/2830(RSP))

    to wind up the debate on the statements by the Council and the Commission
    pursuant to Rule 132(2) of the Rules of Procedure

    Zdzisław Krasnodębski
    on behalf of the ECR Group

    Procedure : 2022/2830(RSP)
    Document stages in plenary
    Document selected :  
    B9-0417/2022
    Texts tabled :
    B9-0417/2022
    Debates :
    Texts adopted :

    B9‑0417/2022

    European Parliament resolution on the EU’s response to the increase in energy prices in Europe

    (2022/2830(RSP))

    The European Parliament,

     having regard to the statements by the Council and the Commission of 13 September 2022 on the EU’s response to the increase in energy prices in Europe,

     having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

    A. whereas the price of natural gas in Europe has increased almost sevenfold thus far in 2022; whereas electricity prices increased dramatically in 2022 with the largest year-on-year electricity wholesale price increases registered in EU countries, most notably in Spain and Portugal (411 %), Greece (343 %), France (336 %) and Italy (318 %); whereas retail electricity prices for household consumers in EU capital cities were up by 44 % in May 2022 compared to the same month in 2021, with the most impacted countries including the Netherlands (167 %), Austria (122 %) and Italy (118 %);

    B. whereas the EU’s annual inflation rate hit a record high of 10.1 % in August 2022, with about 4 percentage points of this figure resulting from more expensive energy;

    C. whereas the cost of the average consumption basket rose by 10.1 % across EU countries in the year to September 2022; whereas in August 2022, the price of bread in the EU was on average 18 % higher than it had been in August 2021;

    D. whereas already in 2020, before the spiral of rising prices began, about 36 million Europeans were unable to keep their homes adequately warm, and this number is predicted to spike this year and to spark a rise in grass-roots anti-government protests;

    E. whereas a number of Member States have already launched ‘energy sobriety’ measures, while others are considering similar efforts focused on slashing energy demand;

    F. whereas energy accounts for 26 % of the costs incurred by the metallurgy industry; 19 % of the costs of basic chemical production; 18 % for glass manufacture; 17 % for paper; and 15 % for construction materials; whereas plants across a broad range of European industries such as steel, aluminium, fertilisers and the power industry itself have been forced to put workers on furlough and shut down production lines, as the high gas and power prices are causing businesses to sustain losses; whereas these closures have a domino effect on other industries hit by the supply shocks and could do long-term damage to Europe’s industrial base;

    Proposal for a regulation

    1. Takes note of the Commission proposal for a Council Regulation on an emergency intervention to address high energy prices (COM(2022)0473);

    2. Stresses that the legal basis for adopting the proposed regulation, namely Article 122 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), is incorrect, as the proposed new legislation concerns fiscal matters; is of opinion that the appropriate legal basis for the proposed taxation measures should be either Article 113 or Article 115, or possibly Article 352, of the TFEU, and points out that all of these provisions require unanimity in the Council and envisage a special role for the European Parliament; calls, therefore, on the Commission to refrain from limiting parliamentary powers in the EU decision-making process and considers it justified to refer this procedural issue to the Court of Justice of the European Union for it to obtain greater clarity on the scope and practical use of Article 122 TFEU;

    3. Is of the opinion that any new taxation rules adopted at EU level should also give the Member States greater flexibility regarding the revenue cap and the measures to address the issue of high energy prices; points out that while the revenue cap is designed to reduce the burden on consumers, in practice it might undermine the liquidity of energy companies, deprive them of the cash needed to finance trade in collaterals and likewise reduce the cash flow necessary to finance investments in renewables; underlines that this short-term solution might result in prolonging the energy crisis by disrupting the functioning of the market in the medium-term; calls, therefore, on the Member States also to use the revenues generated by fiscal measures to provide the necessary liquidity on the energy market, to accelerate investments in renewables and distribution grids, and to compensate the trading companies which are obliged to sell energy to certain categories of end user below the actual cost of its purchase on the exchange markets;

    4. Stresses that the proposed measures to limit energy demand set out in Articles 3 and 4 of the proposal should take into account the differences in levels of energy consumption per capita between Member States, and should allow Member States to adjust the proposed targets accordingly; insists, therefore, that savings should be made in the first instance in the Member States where the potential for savings is the greatest;

    Additional measures for the electricity market

    5. Asks the Commission to explore other measures that could further relieve the pressure on the electricity markets, such as imposing a cap on the price of all imported gas at EU level and introducing an absolute ceiling on the wholesale price of electricity, which would be based on an ex ante evaluation of the correctness of market offers together with a spot price cap mechanism;

    6. Insists that all of the measures proposed should acknowledge the diversity of national circumstances and therefore grant the necessary flexibility for their implementation; further insists that the Member States should be the main actors responsible for their own energy mix, for identifying the main issues faced by their citizens and economies, and for resolving them;

    Emissions Trading System (ETS)

    7. Calls on the Commission to analyse the structural sources of the high energy prices, with a focus on the role of the price of fuel and of carbon within the EU ETS; in the context of the current crises, urges the Commission to use all of the tools at its disposal, including the release of additional allowances from the Market Stability Reserve, as part of the REPowerEU proposal, in order to decrease electricity prices for households and companies;

    8. Draws attention to the vulnerability and unpredictability of the ETS market, as well as its impact on the power industry, and calls, therefore, on the Commission to address this issue by making effective use of Article 29(a) of the EU ETS Directive[1]; stresses that the recent carbon price fluctuations have made this instrument unusable, which contradicts the fundamental idea of preventing excessive carbon price fluctuations;

    9. Is of the opinion that although the costs of emissions allowances (EUA) have been significantly impacted by rising natural gas and coal prices, the Commission should also look closely into the activities of the financial players who contributed to the volatility of the carbon price; urges the Commission to take action to eliminate the influence of speculative capital on the EUA market;

    Vulnerable and critical consumers

    10. Calls on the Member States to swiftly implement a broad range of effective measures which are adequate to address their national circumstances in order to shield consumers from rising energy prices, in particular vulnerable recipients; points out that these could include defining target groups for social rates, measures related to VAT and excise duties on electricity, gas, coal and fuel for use in transport and financial compensation measures;

    11. Calls on the Member States to cooperate closely with energy suppliers to ensure that consumers can obtain access to a financial plan allowing them to pay off their bills in instalments and that households which cannot afford to pay their energy bills are not disconnected;

    12. Stresses the importance of involving the financial sector in order to alleviate pressure on households, including through deferring mortgage payments and developing the means to increase immediate access to energy-saving measures;

    13. Calls on the Member States to support companies in the face of soaring prices, particularly in energy-intensive industries, in consultation with the sectors that are witnessing the greatest impact and with representatives of employers and employees;

    Energy-saving measures

    14. Calls on the Member States to immediately launch awareness-raising campaigns on energy saving measures, reaching the broadest segments of society and providing consumers with knowledge on how to cut households’ and companies’ energy expenditure through more efficient energy use during and beyond today’s energy crisis; encourages the promotion and distribution of energy-saving devices to households free of charge or at the most affordable prices possible;

    Ensuring the stability of energy systems

    15. Encourages the Member States to further promote investments in energy efficiency measures and renewable energy sources;

    16. Believes that the investments that had already been planned to make energy systems more stable and sustainable must be accelerated; calls on the Member States to facilitate the process for granting permits for energy projects, while maintaining a technology-neutral approach;

    Fossil fuel imports

    17. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to immediately refrain from importing fossil fuels from Russia; draws attention to the fact that Russia earned EUR 158 billion in revenue from fossil fuel exports in the first six months of the war and that fossil fuel exports have contributed approximately EUR 43 billion to Russia’s federal budget since the start of the invasion on Ukraine, helping it to fund the war and conduct energy blackmail against Europe;

    18. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to hold bilateral discussions with trading partners exporting natural gas to the EU, such as Norway, about the options to ensure that gas export prices to the EU are not driven by war, but based on objective costs;

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    19. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

    Last updated: 29 September 2022
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