Fighting the energy crisis: Von der Leyen wants to skim off excess profits

Status: 09/14/2022 10:36 a.m

The EU Commission wants to collect excess profits from energy companies in order to further relieve the population in view of rising costs. This was announced by EU Commission chief von der Leyen, who wants to travel to Ukraine for consultations today.

In the EU, possible excess profits from energy companies are to be skimmed off and redistributed in future in order to relieve consumers in the face of rising energy costs. This was announced by the President of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in a speech in the Strasbourg EU Parliament. She expects more than 140 billion euros from this measure, which will also flow to the EU member states.

“von der Leyen announces price limits for electricity producers”, Michael Grytz, ARD Brussels, on the speech on the state of the EU

Tagesschau 12:00 p.m., 14.9.2022

The basis for the planned excess profit tax for companies are legislative proposals from the EU Commission, which the ministers responsible for the energy department of the member states are to vote on on September 30th. If they agree to the plans, the levy would not only affect gas and oil companies, but also producers who generate energy from renewable sources such as wind, sun or water.

The reason for this is the merit order principle that applies to the European electricity market: electricity generation from renewable energy sources is currently cheaper than using gas. However, the price of energy is determined by the most expensive producing power plant, i.e. gas power plants at the moment. As a result, companies that access renewable energy sources make higher profits.

Crisis levy for gas and oil companies

According to von der Leyen, companies that generate electricity from renewable sources should hand over income from 180 euros per megawatt hour to the state, which in turn uses these funds to finance relief measures for citizens.

The EU Commission’s draft law provides for a crisis levy for gas and oil companies: They are to pay a solidarity levy of 33 percent on profits for the current year that are 20 percent above the average for the past three years.

Von der Leyen wants to travel to Kyiv again

In addition to giving away surplus profits, von der Leyen again focused on the goal for the EU member states to save energy as much as possible in the fight against the energy crisis. According to the draft law, power consumption at peak times should be reduced by at least five percent. The countries should continue to create incentives for this.

Officially, the EU Commission wants to present its new regulations on the energy market in the afternoon, but then probably without von der Leyen. The president of the committee announced that she would like to travel to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv again later in the day to consult with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. According to von der Leyen, the focus of these talks should be a closer connection between Ukraine and the European single market. “Our single market is one of the greatest success stories in Europe. Now it’s time to make it a success story for our Ukrainian friends, too,” emphasized von der Leyen.

This is the Commission President’s third trip to Ukraine since the start of the Russian war of aggression. Von der Leyen had already traveled to Ukraine in April and June.

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