Belgium cannot shield people and businesses on their own, Prime Minister reaffirms

Brussels, Belgium: The different administrations in Belgium will make every effort to shield people and businesses from the continuously growing cost of energy, but Prime Minister Alexander De Croo reaffirmed the caution that we cannot do this on our own.

De Croo stressed that the authorities would not allow businesses to go out of business due to the effect of energy costs or toss out thousands of people onto the streets.

“However, the energy problem is not the only issue at hand. The stability, as well as safety of the European continent, are at stake in this, “Added he. We run the risk of entering an actual war economy if the European Commission does not step in.

De Croo continues to advocate for a cap on energy costs, but as he stated last week at the news conference that followed the Consultative Committee on Energy, a price cap must be put in place at the level of Europe.

“The price of Russian gas must be capped; else, the effects would be unfathomable. A block of 450 million people must get together and declare that they would no longer pay this.”

Before, analysts and politicians believed it would take years for the EU to reduce its reliance on Russian gas. This might occur within the next several months.

Following Germany’s announcement of a €65 billion aid package over the weekend, representatives from Belgium’s various governments and social partners will convene today (Monday) to discuss ways to lower energy costs, including the possibility of reducing mortgage payments during the winter so that energy bills can be paid and reviving the temporary unemployment programme used during the Covid-19 pandemic.

De Croo seeks to expand the distribution contribution, which now applies to nuclear energy, to other energy sources, including renewables and gas power plants, in order to address the energy corporations’ surplus profits. The middle class and SMEs would benefit from this.

The European Commission will also propose “concrete ideas” by September 14 to reduce energy costs, pending fundamental reform of the electricity market, at an emergency conference of energy ministers on Friday, September 9, which will include Belgian Energy Minister Tinne Van der Straeten.

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