Answer given by Executive Vice-President Timmermans on behalf of the European Commission
1. The Commission is very concerned about the rise in energy prices. It has analysed its root causes and proposed, on multiple occasions, measures that can be put in place nationally and at EU level to mitigate impacts on vulnerable consumers and to reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels.
It its communication of 13 October 2021 the Commission has explained how the increased carbon price impacts the electricity price. In many EU countries price-setting plants in the electricity market are gas-fired. They pass on their increased carbon costs in their bid, but they also pass on their increased costs to buy natural gas. The latter is far more important: at the time of writing, the effect of the gas price increase on the electricity price was nine times bigger than the effect of the carbon price increase. Furthermore, whereas the purchase of carbon allowances raises revenues and helps the crucial decarbonisation of the EU economy, the purchase of gas by contrast is beneficial primarily for non-EU gas producers.
2. The Commission did in no way call for a freeze on the development of nuclear energy, neither at EU level nor with respect to a particular Member State or Member States. When shaping the EU energy policy the Commission fully respects the discretional right of each Member State to determine the conditions for exploiting its energy resources, its choice between different energy sources and the general structure of its energy supply (Article 194 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). The role of the Commission is to develop the legal framework under the Euratom Treaty to meet the highest standards in nuclear safety, radiation protection, waste management and de-commissioning as well as safeguards, and in this regard has supported research in the aforementioned fields.
-  COM/2021/660 final