Europe’s south is pushing for drastic European Commission action in the hope that soaring energy prices can be countered as the endurance of consumers in less robust European economies continues to diminish, prompting fears of an increase in unpaid receivables, energy company closures, even social unrest, if prices do not de-escalate within the next few months.
The European Commission, gearing up for its next summit, on March 24 and 25, is believed to be preparing to present a series of measures intended to tackle skyrocketing energy prices.
If decisive, these European Commission measures would be embraced by EU member states, especially in the south. If the measures remain half-hearted, in the hope of favorable market developments during spring, they will prompt disappointment, possibly even rebellion, within the EU.
The leaders of Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal plan to meet in Rome either this week or next to establish a common line ahead of the upcoming EU summit.
The precise nature of the European Commission’s upcoming measures has yet to be disclosed. Wholesale natural gas market intervention, with or without price ceilings, as Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has proposed, is a possibility. A detachment of electricity prices from natural gas prices, as proposed by Athens and Madrid, is another possible measure that could be announced by Brussels.
The likelihood of a Eurobond issue to help cover the energy needs of consumers in the EU appears to have faded following recent talk of such a solution.