Brussels: Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has urged the EU to take responsibility to manage the skyrocketing energy prices that had reached an unsustainable level in recent weeks.
“It is only at (the) European level that we will succeed in reducing prices. Only Europe can achieve this,” he said on Wednesday.
The federal government and the representatives of Belgium’s federated entities met in Brussels on Tuesday in a Consultation Committee (CODECO) and managed to come up with additional measures to deal with soaring energy prices at national level, while at the same time calling on the EU to assume its responsibilities.
De Croo has therefore started talks with Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, to study possibilities of reducing energy prices, Xinhua news agency reported.
“Since March, our country has been pleading for measures to be taken on gas prices, and in particular to achieve a freeze on gas prices,” he said, adding that von der Leyen announced at the beginning of the week that an emergency mechanism would be put in place to lower energy prices.
In view of the rising energy prices, CODECO has decided to extend all the support measures already in force until March 31, 2023. These include a 6 per cent VAT reduction on gas and electricity, reduction of excise duties on fuel, and extension of social tariffs and fuel vouchers to target groups.
Among other measures announced, the public authorities will lower heating. They will reduce the use of air conditioning and turn off the lights in every building.
The Belgian Prime Minister also called for the responsibility of every citizen to reduce their energy consumption.
In addition, negotiations, which aims to obtain from banks deferral of the mortgage payment, are also underway with the financial sector to help some people with higher energy bills. Negotiations with the financial sector in financing energy-saving measures are also underway.