Europe's energy crisis has been brewing for months with prices at the pumps consistently beating previous records since last year. Yet the problems have been supercharged with the outbreak of war in Ukraine.
As if it wasn't already painfully clear, the EU's dependence on Russian gas and oil imports has been illuminated as leaders try to take a tough stance on the belligerent aggressor whilst at the same time being acutely aware of their energy needs.
On Thursday, heads of state convened in the palatial setting of Versailles to discuss how to soften the blow of soaring energy costs for consumers, as well as the complex matter of Ukraine membership status. With regards to energy, there is no easy fix with limits on consumer prices largely devolved to individual states.
In Belgium, ministers for the economy and energy are responding to demands from fuel traders who have been forced to sell petrol and diesel at a loss as wholesale prices exceed the maximum limits at the pumps. Earlier in the week, many service stations simply stopped selling fuel, such was the financial lunacy of their situation.
It has yet to be decided how this Kafkaesque scenario can be straightened out to prevent the country quite literally grinding to a halt, but Minister of Economy Pierre-Yves Dermagne has already ruled out transferring the cost to consumers. But with prices now well above €2 per litre, anyone filling up will hardly find cause for celebration.
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As Europe is rocked by the energy crisis, driven by high inflation and the Ukraine war, Belgium has seen fuel prices skyrocket which even saw petrol stations selling at a loss with their wholesale costs exceeding the maximum limits at the pump. Read more.
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