Belgium wants to hit harder than Europe

He wanted to go beyond the measures adopted on Friday 30 September by his European colleagues and, without a doubt, also show his dissatisfaction with the hesitation of the Commission. Belgian energy minister Tinne Van der Straeten, a Flemish environmentalist, has submitted a proposal to Alexander De Croo’s government to tax super-profits from gas, electricity, oil and alternative energies. Objective of the text presented on Monday, October 3: recover 4,700 million euros, for 2022 and 2023, in order to help homes and companies.

As social tension grows in the country and requests for help from citizens and businesses increase, De Croo’s government, imprisoned by budget limitations, has adopted some measures that it considers insufficient in the face of the explosion in gas and electricity rates. Unable to establish a real tariff shield, he announced a VAT reduction to 6%, the creation of a social tariff that will benefit 1 million households and promised energy checks -partly taxable for the richest- for November and December.

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Otherwise, Belgian federal and regional officials turned the tables on Europe and called, along with 14 other member countries, for the Commission to quickly propose a cap on wholesale gas prices and for states to agree to tax super-profits from energy companies. METERme Van der Straeten left the ministerial meeting of the Twenty-seven, which was held on Friday in Brussels, half satisfied.

Cost of the measures: about 440 million euros

The Member States have agreed on an authorization to capture exceptional benefits from the nuclear, renewable and lignite sectors as soon as the price per megawatt hour (MWh) exceeds 180 euros. The Belgian minister intends to impose a fee of 130 euros, and not just 1Ahem December to June 30, 2023, as provided for in the agreement reached on Friday, but for the entirety of 2022 and 2023.

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How, moreover, can Belgium be allowed to benefit from the “solidarity contribution” on the super-profits of the fossil energy sector (gas, oil, coal), which the European Union has set at 33%, when almost all actors in your market are foreigners? The environmental leader suggests charging 1.5 cents per liter imported into the kingdom. Enough, according to estimates, to contribute about 600 million euros that will be used, like all the income generated, to reduce the population’s bills.

The measures adopted so far by the federal government are estimated at around 440 million euros. The amounts released would allow both financing and extending them over time. It remains to be seen whether the seven parties of the federal coalition will approve them and to see how the large companies affected will react. Including Engie Electrabel, which is currently negotiating, against its will, an extension of two nuclear reactors beyond the date of 2025, which in principle would mark the end of nuclear power in Belgium.

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