“We will not let companies go bankrupt because of the impact of energy bills and we will not allow thousands of people to be put on the street,” Prime Minister Alexander De Croo promises. “But this crisis is about much more than energy. This is about the stability and security of the European continent.’
How will Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Open VLD) reduce our energy bill, that was the key question on Sunday the seventh day on a. The Prime Minister says that all governments in our country will pull out all the stops to protect citizens and businesses against the ever-rising energy prices, but reiterates the warning that our country cannot continue to pull this off. ‘If the European Commission does not intervene, we risk ending up in a real war economy.’
‘We don’t pay this anymore’
De Croo is still arguing for a ceiling on energy prices, but for that he is looking at Europe and the meeting of the energy ministers next Friday. ‘There must be a ceiling on the price of Russian gas, otherwise the consequences may be incalculable. We need to form a block of 450 million people who say: ça suffit, we no longer pay this.’ But his message to the European Union is also that this is about much more than energy. “This is about the stability and security of the continent.”
• This is how Germany wants to tackle high energy prices
Jump from 20 years ahead
De Croo adds a positive note to his now famous statement that we are facing five to ten difficult winters (‘five if we get it under control, ten if we conduct bad politics’). “We can also jump forward twenty years at this point by breaking away from fossil fuels and countries we don’t like to trade with.” According to De Croo, we previously thought it would take years before we could curb our dependence on Russian gas, but we will be able to do it in a few months.
Higher energy bill, lower mortgage
The various governments of our country and the social partners will meet on Monday. The Prime Minister does not only look to the government to take measures. He referred to the leaders of two major banks that suggested the possibility of lowering mortgage payments during the winter months so that energy bills can be paid. ‘Of course that is not a waiver of the mortgage payment.’ The Flemish network of companies Voka is already putting the system of temporary unemployment (as we knew it during the corona crisis) on the negotiating table.
With regard to the surplus profits of energy companies, De Croo wants to extend the distribution contribution that already applies to the nuclear sector to other sectors, such as that of renewable energy. That contribution would be used to help SMEs and the middle class. The measure is on the table with Engie.
On 9 September, European energy ministers will meet for an emergency summit to discuss possible measures, and the European Commission will also present ‘concrete plans’ by September 14 to curb energy prices, pending structural reform of the electricity market.