Brussels criticised for reacting too slowly as energy crisis unfolds

(EurActiv, 9 Sep 2022) There is “cognitive dissonance” between national governments facing public pressure to tackle rising energy bills and the slow reaction from the European Commission, which is not directly accountable to the electorate, the energy advisor of an EU country told EURACTIV.

The scathing criticism came as energy ministers from the 27-country bloc are meeting on Friday (9 September) to discuss ways of reducing soaring energy bills for European households and businesses.

It echoes comments from Charles Michel, the President of the European Council, who said there is not a day to lose in tackling the crisis.

“The Commission has wasted time and that is regrettable,” he said over the weekend.

In EU capitals, leaders are under huge pressure to lower gas and electricity bills, which have surged on the back of Russia’s war in Ukraine and falling gas deliveries to Europe.

“Prices keep on rising,” a senior EU diplomat said. “Pressure is also rising to make an extra effort,” he commented ahead of today’s extraordinary ministerial meeting.

Over the past week, the European Commission has hastily put several ideas on the table, including a price cap on gas imported from Russia, a demand reduction target for electricity usage at peak consumption times and a “revenue limit” for energy firms making windfall profits from the crisis.

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EurActiv, 9 Sep 2022: Brussels criticised for reacting too slowly as energy crisis unfolds