European Union ministers on Friday asked the Commission to propose emergency liquidity measures to help tight energy markets as well as to break the link between high gas and electricity prices.
While they all agreed on the need for urgent action, they refrained from calling for a mandatory reduction in electricity demand – perhaps the most crucial step in mitigating the crisis. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is due to present concrete steps for energy legislation next week.
Governments are under heavy pressure to ease the strain on businesses facing soaring energy costs. Cork Chamber said its member businesses are facing increases of four to five times their normal energy bills.
Chamber Speaker Ronan Murray said the crisis mirrored what businesses were facing at the height of the Covid pandemic.
“It is important that the government steps in with significant measures to ensure that energy costs can be kept at a reasonable level, in particular to protect our SME sector,” he said.
“There are real parallels to the onset of the Covid pandemic where the government shifted the dial to protect the health of our citizens while in parallel providing a range of government support to protect the business community. It also requires an equally vigorous response from the government given the growing scale of the problem.”
“Our members tell us they are facing four to five times increases in their normal energy bills, which is simply unprecedented and not something they can just absorb and go on,” said the Chamber CEO Conor Healy.
“We also need supports for large employers working in energy-intensive industries. Germany has introduced €1.7 billion in tax breaks for 9,000 of its energy-intensive businesses along with a range of other measures to reduce the impact of energy price inflation “, did he declare.
“This energy crisis has highlighted the need for Ireland to focus directly on energy security. The world has changed and our position on energy security must change to respond to this changed world.
This includes increased storage and diversification of fuel supply sources for our heat and power plants, including gas sources,” Mr. Healy said.
• Additional Bloomberg reports