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GUE/NGL MEPs react to EC plans on energy poverty ahead of vote

In a bid to give citizens a greater role to play in the EU Energy Union, a resolution has been tabled and due to be voted by the plenary in Brussels today.

The main thrust of the proposal includes plans to tackle energy poverty with more funds available to promote energy efficiency, self-generation and other cost-cutting measures to help reduce bills for energy-poor consumers.

Responding to the report in the plenary, GUE/NGL MEP Xabier Benito Ziluaga said:

“This report can be a real opportunity for citizens of the EU to spearhead the changes.”

“Such a transition can't be imposed from above as a basis of private interest. We need a real energy revolution with involvement of the people and which empowers the people in relation to something as basic as energy use”, he continued.

“In terms of investments, they need to be cooperatives, the consumers themselves and local communities.”

But before tackling the subject of energy poverty, the Spanish MEP said a proper definition of the term is badly needed, adding:

“Let us protect and safeguard consumer rights by saying that access to energy is a basic social right”, Benito concluded. 

Those views were echoed by fellow GUE/NGL MEP Josu Juaristi who also believed that more investment, research and fewer barriers are required to help champion local needs.

However, he went further by highlighting the importance of cooperation between member states:

“These proposals are very positive from any point of view – and we need to provide the impetus.”

“I believe we need to promote this when it comes to cross-border co-operation in order to extend local grids that will lead to a real and sustainable energy transition in the whole of the EU,” said the Basque MEP.