The upcoming “5 to 10 winters will be difficult,” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo warned on Monday as energy prices in Europe soared to new records.
De Croo: “The next five to ten winters will be difficult. A very difficult situation is developing throughout Europe. Some sectors are facing serious difficulties with these high energy prices.”
The prices and costs for energy evolve over time depending on many different factors like the prices of inputs, market competition and market integration conditions, regulatory and policy-related costs, taxation as well as consumers’ needs and behavioural patterns. Over the past year, global recent developments together with Russian aggression in Ukraine significantly hit the prices in the energy sector.
At the informal meeting of heads of state or government in March 2022, EU leaders agreed to phase out the EU dependency on Russian fossil fuels. At their Special European Council meeting on 30-31 May, leaders decided to ban almost 90% of all Russian oil imports by the end of 2022.
On 27 June 2022, the Council adopted new rules to improve the EU’s security of supply in the context of the war in Ukraine. EU member states will:
ensure their gas storage facilities are filled before winter
share storage facilities in a spirit of solidarity
The EU is working towards climate neutrality as a way to strengthen its independence from fuel imports, as well as reaching its climate goals.
On 26 July 2022, the EU energy ministers reached a political agreement on a reduction of natural gas demand by 15% for this winter.
This reduction is voluntary but could become mandatory if a security of supply alert is triggered.
On 5 August 2022, the Council adopted the regulation on reducing gas demand by 15% through a written procedure. The adoption follows the political agreement reached in July and the regulation will be published in the Official Journal and enter into force the next day.