- Europe needs to respond immediately to the energy crisis or else the economy will come to a “full stop,” according to Belgium’s prime minister.
- “Recovering from that is going to be much more complicated than intervening in gas markets today,” Alexander De Croo told Bloomberg Thursday.
The European Union must take immediate action to address the energy crisis or else face dire economic consequences, according to Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.
“A few weeks like this and the European economy will just go into a full stop,” he told Bloomberg on Thursday. “Recovering from that is going to be much more complicated than intervening in gas markets today. The risk of that is de-industrialization and severe risk of fundamental social unrest.”
In his view, the EU would benefit from imposing a price cap on gas trading, and it should be implemented as soon as possible in order to stave off catastrophe.
De Croo’s idea comes as Europe’s top energy ministers convene in Brussels on Friday to discuss potential government responses in the energy market.
A price cap will be on the table, along with other possibilities such as mandated reductions of electricity use and new taxes on fossil fuel companies. De Croo said he sees no other option than to impose such market interventions.
“What you are seeing today is a massive drainage of prosperity out of the European Union,” he said.
Since Russia began cutting supplies to Europe, natural gas prices have soared, and are trading at 10 times the price of the five-year average, according to Bloomberg data.
That demands extreme urgency from government officials, the prime minister noted, and it’s not something that officials can take a long time to deliberate before taking action.
“I think we don’t have the space to again say, ‘OK, we put something in the text and then we meet each other in two months,'” De Croo said. “In two months, with these prices, I fear it’s too late.”