Motion for a resolution - B9-0422/2022Motion for a resolution
B9-0422/2022

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

Martina Dlabajová, Stéphanie Yon‑Courtin
on behalf of the Renew Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0416/2022

Procedure : 2022/2830(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  
B9-0422/2022
Texts tabled :
B9-0422/2022
Debates :
Texts adopted :

B9‑0422/2022

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 its resolution of 28 November 2019 on the climate and environment emergency[1],

 having regard to the Commission communication of 11 December 2019 on the European Green Deal (COM(2019)0640) and to Parliament’s resolution of 15 January 2020 thereon[2],

 having regard to Regulation (EU) 2021/1119 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 June 2021 establishing the framework for achieving climate neutrality and amending Regulations (EC) No 401/2009 and (EU) 2018/1999 (‘European Climate Law’)[3],

 having regard to the European Pillar of Social Rights, in particular principle 20 on access to essential services,

 having regard to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and in particular the 2015 Paris Agreement thereof, which entered into force on 4 November 2016,

 having regard to the Commission communication of 13 October 2021 entitled ‘Tackling rising energy prices: a toolbox for action and support’ (COM(2021)0660),

 having regard to the Commission communication of 8 March 2022 entitled ‘REPowerEU: Joint European Action for more affordable, secure and sustainable energy’ (COM(2022)0108),

 having regard to the conclusions of the European Council summit of 24 and 25 March 2022,

 having regard to the Commission communication of 18 May 2022 on the REPowerEU Plan (COM(2022)0230),

 having regard to the Commission proposal for a Council regulation on an emergency intervention to address high energy prices (COM(2022)0473),

 having regard to Regulation (EU) 2022/1032 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 June 2022 amending Regulations (EU) 2017/1938 and (EC) No 715/2009 with regard to gas storage (Security of Supply Regulation)[4],

 having regard to the Commission’s ‘Winter Package’, consisting of country reports on the overall economic and social developments in each Member State,

 having regard to the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on energy efficiency (recast) (COM(2021)0558),

 having regard to its resolution of 21 October 2021 on the climate, energy and environmental State aid guidelines (CEEAG)[5],

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

A. whereas gas and electricity prices have reached record levels in 2022 and hit all-time highs following the Russian invasion of Ukraine;

B. whereas energy prices are expected to remain high due to uncertainty in the market following Russia’s weaponisation of its gas exports to Europe;

C. whereas extreme weather conditions have contributed to energy scarcity and high energy prices, constituting a burden for consumers and industry and dampening the EU’s economic recovery;

D. whereas the dramatic increase in electricity prices is putting pressure on households, numerous European citizens, in particular those at risk of poverty and those from vulnerable groups, non-governmental organisations, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and industry, and risks causing wider social and economic harm;

E. whereas the assessment by the EU Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators of the EU Wholesale Electricity Market Design showed that cross-border trade delivered EUR 34 billion of benefits to consumers in 2021 while helping to smoothen price volatility, and that it enhances each Member State’s security of supply and resilience to price shocks;

F. whereas more than 50 million households in the EU already experience energy poverty and whereas this major challenge will be further exacerbated by the current energy crisis, leading to possible delays in access to basic needs, care, education and healthcare, in particular for children and young people;

G. whereas saving and reducing energy constitute an affordable, safe and clean option to reduce the EU’s reliance on fossil fuel imports from Russia; whereas EU Member States save only 0.8 % of final energy consumption;

1. Welcomes the Commission’s proposal for a Council regulation on an emergency intervention to address high energy prices; underlines that, given the critical situation, it is of the utmost importance to put in place a European energy shield that will protect European citizens, especially the lowest income households, and SMEs, and prepare for the future through several short- and medium-term actions;

2. Is of the opinion that the redirection of windfall profits should go to consumers and businesses, in particular vulnerable households and SMEs; underlines that this redirection should be of a temporary nature and must go hand in hand with massive innovation and investments in renewable energies and energy efficiency; calls on the Member States to target the most vulnerable households and SMEs with the objective of providing gains in energy efficiency, tackling energy poverty and ensuring access to essential services; calls on the Commission to provide guidelines on the measures and investments that Member States should finance in order to target the most vulnerable households and SMEs; underlines, furthermore, that this solidarity contribution should also be used to finance measures to reduce energy consumption and support industries, rather than incentivising households and companies to consume more energy, thereby further strengthening the Union’s energy autonomy in the longer term; underlines the importance of the solidarity contribution proposed by the Commission to help households and companies cope with rising energy prices;

3. Calls on the Member States and the Commission to step up information campaigns and other actions at their disposal to inform citizens and businesses, in particular SMEs, on how to reduce their energy demand and improve energy efficiency; invites the Member States to lay out and introduce a scheme to provide more incentives to companies, especially SMEs, and households for committing to reducing their consumption beyond the national and EU reduction targets; calls on the Commission and the Member States to monitor the impact of high energy prices on energy and mobility poverty;

4. Considers that any intervention in the energy market must be of a temporary and targeted nature and that fundamental market principles and the integrity of the single market must not be endangered; insists, moreover, that all measures adopted to fight the energy price crisis must be fully compatible with the Union climate goals in the long term, including the Green Deal and the ‘do no significant harm’ principle, and must ensure the EU’s open strategic autonomy through an assessment of their impact on our dependencies in this sector and how they tackle these (‘sovereignty filter’);

5. Stresses that substantial reductions in energy demand are feasible and can play a key role in keeping energy prices stable, while at the same time contributing to our climate goals; welcomes the Commission proposal to introduce a European framework with a reduction target of at least 5 % during peak demand hours; recalls that the cheapest energy is the energy that we do not produce or consume and that demand reduction plans will not only help the EU in the short term but will also help us to achieve the Fit for 55 package and implement REPowerEU, in view of the EU’s 2030 climate commitment of at least a 55 % reduction in greenhouse gas emissions; calls for a stricter application of the energy efficiency first principle, as well as the wide application of energy efficiency measures, covering the full cycle from primary energy and generation to final consumers, including industry, businesses and citizens; invites the Member States to match energy efficiency and savings targets set by Parliament in its position on the Energy Efficiency Directive, and to work closer with cities and their ambitions to become climate neutral;

6. Stresses that real-time electricity price signals can unlock more flexible demand, in turn reducing expensive and gas-intensive peak supply needs; calls on the Member States, therefore, to better manage the flexibility needs of EU power systems through enhanced grids, dispatchable low-emission electricity generation and various large-scale and short- and long-term energy storage technologies in order to reduce industrial electricity and gas demand in peak hours;

7. Calls on the Commission to reinforce, prolong and adapt the European instrument for temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE) to support short-time work schemes, workers’ income and workers that would be temporarily laid off because of the increase in energy prices; calls on the Commission to use the SURE mechanism as part of a broader European Energy Transition Investment Shield, providing temporary EU-labelled vouchers for micro-investments for households and SMEs dedicated to tackling energy poverty and improving energy efficiency;

8. Calls on the Member States to consider the impact of the energy crisis on energy prices, household incomes, health and the well-being of the most vulnerable people and vulnerable SMEs;

9. Calls on the Commission to work with the Member States to put in place recommendations updating existing EU action plans and strategies in the areas of housing, access to basic social needs, protection of social infrastructure, critical healthcare services and financial assistance to businesses, especially SMEs, in order to prevent vulnerable businesses and vulnerable Europeans – those at risk of poverty or living in precarious conditions, children, young people, minorities, people with disabilities, single parents, women and others – from having their lives further disrupted by the effects of the energy crisis;

10. Stresses the need to continue to incentivise investments in flexible generation technologies (e.g. demand-response and all types of storages), and the production of electricity from renewable sources;

11. Strongly believes that the European energy market has benefited citizens and industry until now, but needs to be adapted to protect it from abuse and manipulations by unreliable third-country suppliers, as well as from global shocks and challenges, including the rapid post-pandemic recovery, dramatically increased global demand for energy resources and the breaching of contractual energy supply obligations; stresses that boosting the energy market’s efficiency and competitiveness, while ensuring that European consumers can make more affordable and sustainable choices, is of key importance, as is accelerating the green transition, enhancing efforts to achieve high energy efficiency targets, deploying European renewable energy sources at a massive scale and completing a truly interconnected smart grid;

12. Calls for the establishment of clear short- and medium-term EU milestones with the aim of achieving full independence from Russian fossil fuels as soon as possible and no later than 2027; calls on the Member States to use the full potential of the EU Energy Purchase Platform;

13. Recalls that gas imported from Russia accounted for 40 % of total EU gas consumption in 2021; stresses that reducing reliance on Russian gas will require a concerted and sustained policy effort across multiple sectors, alongside strong international dialogue on energy markets and security; calls on the Commission to analyse all options regarding the setting of a price cap on gas imports from pipelines, primarily from Russia, including the possible introduction of a wholesale price cap, to ensure that European citizens and SMEs can face the current energy crisis, and in that spirit welcomes the Commission’s decision to set up a task force to negotiate gas prices with third countries; supports the Commission’s continued efforts to ensure alternative supplies from reliable third-country partners and allies while staying vigilant and prudent so as not to replace dependency on one country with another or with a group of countries, nor to replace a dependency on gas with a long-term dependency on liquefied natural gas; asks the Commission to explore all possibilities, including as regards trade policy, to negotiate energy prices with third countries;

14. Urges the Commission and the Member States to increase the identification, focus and financing of key energy infrastructure, paying particular attention to electricity grids that connect EU countries and are ready for the uptake of renewables and the production and transportation of clean hydrogen;

15. Underlines the importance of the solidarity between Member States and the importance of cross-border projects and warns against individual measures leading to isolationism and protectionism, which would only result in further pressure on the markets, increases in energy prices and potential blackouts;

16. Welcomes the Commission’s initiatives, notably REPowerEU, the Security of Supply Regulation and the Winter Package, aimed at reducing pressure on energy markets, increasing the resilience of the EU energy system through a gradual phasing out of dependence on fossil fuels and the diversification of energy supplies at Union level, securing adequate gas supplies in the short term and tackling unsubstantiated energy price increases; believes that financing energy independence requires joint investments and common financing for REPowerEU;

17. Expects the 2023 budget to provide the answers urgently needed to address the energy crisis; calls on the Commission, therefore, to include proposals on this in its amending letter, and calls on the Council to consider this a priority during the budgetary negotiations;

18. Recalls that the multiannual financial framework is no longer fit for purpose and therefore calls for it to be revised as soon as possible in order to adapt it to respond to the different crises we are facing right now, notably by expanding its flexibility instruments and the capacity to create synergies between the different instruments;

19. Encourages the Commission and the Member States to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy sources, in particular by removing administrative barriers and simplifying and accelerating permitting processes; stresses the importance and immediate positive impact of rapidly deploying rooftop photovoltaic panels, nearby renewables, heat pumps and other fast and easy-to-install solutions;

20. Expresses its concerns over the EU’s dependencies on non-EU countries, as is the case for energy, critical industrial items, fertilisers, raw materials, chemicals and other key products for the European economy; welcomes, in this regard, the announcement made by the Commission President in her State of the Union address on 14 September 2022, calling for the establishment of a European Sovereignty Fund; recalls Parliament’s position in favour of the establishment of a new dedicated European fund to finance cross-border energy infrastructure – while avoiding lock-in effects on fossil fuels – and renewable energy production and energy efficiency, reinforcing the path towards the European Green Deal, as well as cybersecurity, industrial competitiveness, the circular economy, food security and sustainable development, thereby securing Europe’s autonomy and protecting quality public services in the decades to come; recalls the importance of strategic investments, including Important Projects of Common European Interest, in strengthening strategic value chains;

21. Stresses the need to update our macroeconomic governance framework to make it more resilient and to enable Member States to design new relevant rules to ensure the sustainability of their economic models, while accelerating the achievement of major common European priorities;

22. 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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