If the right steps are taken, the main European economies will be able to continue without Russian gas in “the coming months”. Prime Minister Alexander De Croo stated this on Monday at the diplomatic contact days in Brussels. “The moment when we can say to Putin, ‘We don’t need your gas anymore,’ will be a big moment,” said the prime minister.
Today at 17:21
Most of his speech to the assembled diplomatic corps was about the energy crisis and the Russian war in Ukraine. His statement about the five to ten difficult winters was not far off. “With a good policy, we can limit it to five years. With a bad policy it might be ten years.”
The German government announced last weekend that it is making no less than 65 billion euros available to protect the purchasing power of families. Some measures were taken from the Consultation Committee for us, but we are looking towards Europe for structural solutions. Nevertheless, the prime minister believes that the comparison with Germany is flawed. “What we do in Belgium is comparable to Germany. Indexation (of wages, etc.) is not discussed, even though it is not free.”
The liberal prime minister seemed to agree with the recent statements of his predecessor Charles Michel, the president of the European Council. He had indicated that there is an urgent need for concrete measures. In this way he seemed to want to increase the pressure on the European Commission. “Decisive action” at European level “during the spring could have limited the contagion of the electricity market,” it said.
So now it remains to look forward to the European Commission’s initiative to reform the European electricity market and try to decouple it from gas prices. The Commission denied any delay on Monday, referring to the enormous complexity of the energy file.” “This could have happened earlier and it’s a shame it took so long,” said De Croo nonetheless.