In light of the continuing war in Ukraine, an emergency meeting of EU energy ministers will be held on Monday; Belgium's Federal Energy Minister Tinne Van der Straeten (Green) will argue for a Europe-wide cap on gas prices.
"We cannot wait any longer to take firm action. That means we have to look now at how we can cap this price," she said on Sunday evening on VTM Nieuws. "Consumer prices must be set at a European level: you can't do that country by country," she added.
This announcement comes after thousands of people took to the streets of Brussels on Sunday to protest rising energy prices. Protestors called out in favour of a reduction of VAT to 6% for both electricity and gas; Van der Straeten has also voiced support for this measure.
"The combination of European regulation to cap the price of gas and measures at the national level can ensure that everyone's energy bill becomes manageable again."
- Diesel and Petrol hit all-time highs on Saturday
- European electricity and gas prices rise 40% due to Russian invasion of Ukraine
- Nuclear exit: Federal energy regulator raises concerns for energy security
Russia supplies 40% of Europe's natural gas, putting the continent in an uncomfortable position of energy dependency which makes sanctioning Russia a thorny topic that will inevitably have strong repercussions in Member States.
Belgium's own energy provision has been in the spotlight recently, with agreements reached at the end of last year to phase out the country's nuclear reactors. However, this would be currently make the country far more dependent on gas imports to fuel power stations at an increased capacity in order to make up the shortfall from nuclear energy.
Van der Straeten stated that the previous decision on nuclear phase out will be reviewed in March, saying that "We are in a new world. There is war on the European continent. Every element will be put on the table."