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Commission’s ‘winter package’ may worsen energy poverty

At the European Parliament this morning, the European Commission presented its policy package for a clean energy transition in the EU that promises to cut CO2 emissions by at least 40 per cent before 2030.

The Commission’s proposals aim to create a new EU legal basis for the transformation of the energy system in Europe with the goals of achieving energy efficiency, leadership in renewable energies and, in the words of the Commission, providing a fair deal for consumers.

However, GUE/NGL co-ordinator at the Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), Neoklis Sylikiotis MEP, said that the Commission’s proposals sacrifice the environment and the energy needs of the people for the benefit of the market and big business:

“The Commission is giving too much power to electricity suppliers by allowing them to set very high prices to consumers.”

“A consequence of the Commission’s winter package is more energy poverty with no clear action plan to combat this.”

“We will not support an energy package that serves the needs of the market and the interests of the monopolies and multinationals.”

The Cypriot MEP instead called for a more ambitious plan to grow the share of renewables in energy supply:

“We need fair access to renewables and equal access to the market for renewables.”

“The Commission’s proposals call for a 30 per cent increase in energy provision by 2030 – backtracking on the 40 per cent requested by the Parliament as well as falling short on renewable energy’s overall share,” he added.

For GUE/NGL MEP Kateřina Konečná – group co-ordinator at the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) – the proposals do not achieve the much-needed energy savings:

“The Commission’s winter package is intended to change the landscape of European energy policy. But it must be seen in the context of other Commission policies such as the Emissions Trading System (ETS) – and it falls short of the expectations of the European Parliament.”

“The best energy saving is the energy that won’t be used. This is a chance to achieve big savings but herein lies the weakest point in the text, in my view.”

Konečná also echoed concerns about the entrenchment of energy poverty among the most vulnerable in the EU: 

“This policy fails to take into consideration the most vulnerable in the European Union and we do not see any specific proposals about fighting energy poverty.”

“The new ambition will be costly and consumers will bear the brunt of this. Energy is the right of every citizen and it must be affordable,” concluded the Czech MEP.