The French and German governments want to “combine all efforts to lower energy prices” in Europe and simplify state aid to companies, the two countries’ economy ministers said in a joint statement Thursday.
On the eve of a meeting of the 27 EU Member States on the energy crisis, Bruno Le Maire and Robert Habeck call for an increase in the EU’s “negotiating power” in this article published in France’s Les Echos.
The European employers’ organization BusinessEurope warned Thursday that high gas and electricity prices in Europe pose an “imminent risk” of “production losses” and “shutdowns of thousands of European companies.
Faced with this critical situation, the two ministers welcome the European Commission’s proposal to make producers of renewable or nuclear energy who benefit from a high rent called “inframarginal” contribute, as is already done in France.
They also ask him “to explore all other options that could bring down prices while preserving a secure energy supply and avoiding excessive consumption of gas”, the supply of which was largely assured by Russia.
Bruno Le Maire and Robert Habeck, who is also Vice-Chancellor, are finally asking for “effective support for our most affected companies” through mechanisms that must be “urgently improved, extended and simplified by a system much better adapted to the crisis”.
“Supporting these companies today will prevent a long-term crisis with closures, lasting dismantling and unemployment,” they say.
To bring down energy prices, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced on Thursday the release of 200 billion euros for an exceptional public fund intended to serve as a shield against soaring hydrocarbon prices.