The European Commission has announced that it will be taking decisions on fuel prices and/or energy prices (electricity, gas, fuel oil) on Monday, according to a statement issued on Sunday.
A meeting devoted to energy is also planned for late Monday afternoon, Belga News Agency reports.
A “series of shock measures” will be considered by the core cabinet, Pierre-Yves Dermagne said on a television programme.
Paul Magnette, the Deputy Prime Minister, who is also Minister for the Economy and Labour, said he understands the need for decisive, urgent measures, but refutes the idea that the federal government has dragged its feet.
“We don't decide on multi-billion dollar measures in an instant,” he said, adding that “the European context” is also important.
Plans to tackle high energy prices have been underway for some time
At the end of an informal summit in Versailles last week, the leaders of the 27 countries gave the European Commission the task of preparing a catalogue of options by the end of the month, including the introduction of temporary price caps on the wholesale natural gas market.
- EU considers cap on gas prices to limit soaring energy prices
- Consumers to foot the bill for increased fuel prices, transport sector says
This week, the Socialist Party has put forward its demands, which Dermagne reiterated on Sunday: a reduction in VAT (to 6%) on gas, as has been decided (temporarily for the time being) for electricity, the extension and “perpetuation” of the social tariff (also temporary, at present), and the creation of an “average” tariff for energy, between the social tariff and the normal tariff, which would benefit “the lower middle class.”
Fuel oil, used mainly in Wallonia (about one household in two) for heating, should also be taken in hand with a reduction in the final price paid by the user, he argued.
A reduction in excise duties on petrol is also being proposed.