L’Europe is still a long way from finding a common response to the energy crisis and the increase in gas prices (today down by 4% in 163 euros megawatt hour). The split emerged if possible even more clearly during the meeting of the finance ministers of the 27 in Luxembourg, convened to decide how to finance RePower Eu. On the one hand there are the discontent of several Member States – Italy including – for the move of the Germanywhich independently announced an aid package from 200 billion euros. The League has submitted a question to the European Commission asking to verify that the German government is not violating the rules on state aid. On the other hand there is the coldness of Berlin and Brussels, but not onlyfaced with the proposal of Paul Gentiloni And Thierry Bretonwho have asked to act as during the pandemic, by issuing common debt on the model of the Sure fund.
The two EU Commissioners for the Economy and the Internal Market, in a speech published in various European newspapers including Corriere della Seraunderline that “only a European budget response will allow, supporting the action of ECBto respond effectively to this crisis and to calm the volatility of the financial markets ”. However, the no of Berlin, even before the start of the Ecofin: “Further proposals based on the Sure program they are not justified right now “, commented the German Finance Minister and leader of the Liberals, Christian Lindner. Then came the no ofHolland. Moreover, in the evening also the spokesman of the EU Commission, Eric Mamerpointed out that “the editorials are personal initiatives of the competent commissioners. They do not bind the Commission ”. Words that, albeit of circumstance, will not please Gentiloni and Breton. Mamer then added: “Obviously the same president von der Leyen he spoke about the need for European solutions and the protection of the single market in his Saturday speech in Sofia ”.
The statements at the end of the Ecofin, however, did nothing but certify the distances between European countries and the lack of a common solidarity strategy. “We discussed” the proposal for a replica of the Sure mutual fund “and I must say that there are diverging opinions. We need to find one European solution to reduce spot prices ”which“ are too high ”, he said Zbynek Stanjura, Minister of Finance of the Czech Republic, who holds the rotating presidency. “After what was agreed last Friday we will continue to discuss – pointed out Stanjura -, I know it looks like the pace is too slow but is not so. Different countries have different energy mixes e different ideas of what needs to be done “.
“We decided today to work on additional temporary flexibilities regarding i remaining cohesion funds in the financing period 2014–2020 to use them in the context of the current energy crisis “, explained the Vice-President of the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis, always at the end of the Ecofin. “RePowerEu and Recovery do not finance income support measures or similar, this needs different funding sources“, has explained. Dombrovskis himself had warned before the meeting in Luxembourg: “The question” of a new issue of common debt on the model of the Sure “requires other discussions because there are different points of view around the table “. An indirect response to Gentiloni, who, on his arrival at Ecofin, said: “What we did with Sure during the pandemic was a interesting proposal“And that model”based on loans it might be realistic. If we want to avoid the fragmentation we need a high level of solidarity and we have to field some more common tool“.
The proposal of the two commissioners – Gentiloni and Breton write that “be inspired by Sure to help Europeans and industrial ecosystems in the current crisis could be one of solutions to short term which paves the way for a first step towards the supply of ‘European public goods‘in the energy and security sectors, which is the only way to give one systemic response to the crisis “. Sure is the EU fund from 100 billion launched during the pandemic to finance through the issuance of common debt the Cig and the national schemes against the unemployment. “To overcome the flaws caused by the different margins of maneuver of the balance sheets nationalwe have to think about instruments mutualized at EU level ”, underline the two commissioners.
“How we were able to do during the Covid crisisit is up to us to collectively and pragmatically establish fair support mechanisms that maintain the integrity and unity of the internal market, protect all European businesses and citizens and allow us to move forward together in this great crisis “, continue Gentiloni and Breton, pointing out that “Europe has already shown that it can react strongly by overcoming divisions and sharing its budget power at the European level, in order to demonstrate solidarity And justice. This is the essence of our European project ”.
In their speech, Gentiloni and Breton also focus on the aid package from 200 billion announced by Berlin last week. The scheme “responds to the need – invoked by us – to support the economy, but it also raises some questions. How can the member states that they do not have the same budgetary margins support businesses and households? We must avoid more than ever fragment the internal market, to create a race for subsidies and to question i principles of solidarity and of unit which are the basis of our European project ”. “To establish a coordinated response for our part, and while the 27 are trying to mobilize resources by all appealing to debt to cope with the symmetrical shock in energy prices – explain the two commissioners -, the debt capacity cannot be assessed on the basis of their debt alone. public ‘observed’. This reference, which will remain the basis of ours common budgetary rulesit is not certain exhaustive“.
Germany’s response – “I had the opportunity yesterday to explain ours to the Commission and colleagues shield protectivethere was a misunderstanding: our measure is targeted and it is planned for 2022, 2023 and 2024, ″ the minister said Lindner, responding to criticism of the aid package launched by Berlin. Then he reiterated that the measure “is proportionate, if we consider the size and vulnerability of the German economy ”. “For this – she added – we must work together to strengthen the our common purchases from power on the international market and reform our electricity market “.
According to Berlin, however, “the tools that were used during the pandemic cannot be transferred one by one” in a context of “offer shock and an inflation scenario ”. The proposal for a program similar to the Sureexplained the leader of the German liberals of the FDP, “it cannot be justified”, there are “other instruments to discuss, but this crisis is very different from that of the coronavirus“. “We are not facing a demand shock, where i public funds must be used to stabilize the request or stimulate the economy, we are facing one supply-side shock and we must respond by expanding the offer and acting together on international markets ”, continued Lindner.
The League question – The League presents a priority question at the European Commission on the ‘economic stabilization fund launched by the German government’. The deputy of the Northern League announces it on Twitter Claudio Borghi which publishes the text signed by the MEP Antonio Maria Rinaldi, member of the ‘Identity and Democracy’ group in Brussels. “The German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced on 29 September that the German government will use a bottom from stabilization economic, lasting three years, for a total amount of 200 billion euros in order to support the national production system to counter the effect of high energy prices. Given – we read – that this fund will presumably be used by the German government to help and support national companies to regain the competitiveness of its production both on the domestic and international markets, the Commission does not believe that: 1) There is a violation of Articles 107 and 108 of the TFEU which regulate state aid? 2) Given the extent of the measure that will be adopted by the German government, a revision of the Temporary Crisis Frameworkin order to allow a all member states of the Union parity of intervention? “.