Belgium demands €4.7 billion from energy companies to mitigate crisis

Brussels, Belgium: As a crisis contribution for energy producers, Federal Energy Minister Tinne Van der Straeten proposes to skim off all their profits above €130/Megawatt-hour (MWh) for a period of two years as well as call for a solidarity contribution of 1.5 cents per litre on petrol and diesel.

At the European Union energy meeting the previous Friday, a legal framework was agreed upon to skim off the excess profits of companies that produce electricity at low costs, such as nuclear power plants and renewable energy producers, and are currently making exceptionally high profits.

While the European Union ministers want the Members States to apply a cap of €180/MWh, which means anything energy companies earn above that threshold will be able to be skimmed off from 1 December to 30 June 2023 (seven months), Van der Straeten wants to go several steps further with the €130/MWh cap for about two years.

Along with this, the European Commission is allowing the Member States to go beyond that €180/MWh threshold, both in terms of revenue cap and time period. “In my proposal, I use the same method, but I go further than Europe,” Van der Straeten mentioned in the statement, explaining that the European Union clarity was required for the Belgian framework.

On Monday morning, Van der Straeten’s colleague, as well as Deputy PM for the Green party Petra De Sutter asserted that this is legally permissible.

“The European Union has clearly mentioned that the Member States are allowed to set that limit lower, as well as also to extend the deadline.”

Van der Straeten would like to introduce the system retroactively from 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2023, extending the period to 24 months instead of the seven agreed at the European level. “If prices drop below €130/MWh again, that tax will go away, so it is a self-extinguishing system.”

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