Answer given by Ms Simson on behalf of the European Commission
The Commission is closely following the development of prices in the energy market and is fully aware of the challenges these represent.
The Commission has adopted a communication, which includes an analysis of the energy prices spike and a toolbox of short‐ and medium-term measures that can be enacted by both the Member States and at European level to alleviate the situation, notably for vulnerable customers .
These include direct support, State aid and/or targeted tax reductions, safeguards to avoid grid disconnections and deferral of payments and enhanced coordination on energy poverty measures.
In order to be better prepared for future price shocks, the toolbox includes medium-term measures such as increased renewable energy, energy efficiency, consumers’ empowerment and the EU’s energy system resilience.
The proposed Social Climate Fund will also support energy efficiency and renewable energy investments, thus helping to finance measures addressing the root causes of vulnerability to price rises.
The Energy Poverty Advisory Hub will support local authorities in implementing concrete projects that tackle energy poverty. As a long-term strategy, the European Green Deal will lower the EU dependence on imports of fossil fuels by improving the energy efficiency, as well as increasing the share of renewable energies in Europe.
As a follow up of the Commission’s toolbox, the Commission has adopted proposals to enhance competition and resilience of the EU’s gas markets, including, where appropriate, obligations for regional gas stocks and voluntary joint procurement of reserve gas stocks by public entities in line with the functioning of the internal energy market and EU competition rules.
-  Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, ‘Tackling rising energy prices: a toolbox for action and support’, COM(2021) 660 final — adopted on 13 October 2021.
-  https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/eu-climate-action/delivering/euets_en
-  https://ec.europa.eu/info/news/leading-eu-initiative-energy-poverty-launches-its-new-website-2021-oct-12_en
-  To improve the resilience of the European energy system .