Direct subsidies and state aid should target those most hit by exceptional gas and electricity prices – Sant

Last Updated on Sunday, 17 October, 2021 at 10:56 am by Andre Camilleri

Addressing a debate in the European Parliament about European solutions to the rise of energy prices, the Head of the Maltese S&D Delegation Alfred Sant stated that the immediate response should comprise “government intervention through direct subsidies and other forms of state aid.” The upward spiral of gas and electricity prices is leading to a direct impact on the pockets of citizens and on small enterprises and to a rise in the price of European products and services. Ultimately, this would fuel a higher inflation rate and an increase in the price of European exports.

The main thrust of the MEPs plenary debate was to suggest new affordable and sustainable measures to mitigate the negative effect brought about by the sharp spike in energy prices on households and businesses, including energy efficiency and renewable energy and measures to combat energy poverty.

Labour MEP Alfred Sant proposed as a long-term approach what he called a “two-step solution” that would include a “pooled EU approach to negotiate energy procurement”, as happened with the COVID vaccine and finding a real alternative to fossil fuels.

While acknowledging that this was not the first time that energy suppliers have left Europe in a situation of helplessness, Sant emphasized that the best option for the future would be “energy autonomy.” On this account, he urged all European Member states to put more effort in generating their own renewable energy sources and improve conservation by upgrading energy efficiency.

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