MEPs call for investigation into EU energy market manipulation amid surging costs

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Members of the European Parliament have called for an investigation into market manipulation by state and non-state actors within the EU’s energy market, as gas prices on the continent continue to surge.

Concerned about the impact on consumers and businesses, MEPs also want to look at the EU carbon market speculation in order to measure the impact it is having on bills, with many insisting on the need for immediate measures to protect the most vulnerable from rising costs.

During a debate in Strasbourg on Wednesday, Siegfried Mureșan, a Romanian MEP and Vice-Chair of the EPP Group said: “We have to make sure that no state or non-state actor, be it the Russian Federation, Gazprom or anyone else can manipulate and influences the European energy prices.”

Some MEPs also called for the continent’s gas storage capacity to be boosted, as well as for common gas purchase programmes to be set up, similar to the model used for vaccines.

Iratxe García, a Spanish MEP & Chair of the S&D Group said that “each state on its own is weaker” and that individually, governments are “at the mercy of price speculation, even competing among ourselves.”

EU heads of state and government last night discussed surging energy prices during an informal dinner in Slovenia.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen urged member states to provide relief funds to consumers and small businesses, but at the same time, keep defending the green transition as the best long-term solution.

“Gas prices are skyrocketing, but the price of renewables has decreased during the last years and are stable,” von der Leyen said on Tuesday in Slovenia. “So, for us, it’s very clear that with energy, in the long term, it’s important to invest in renewables that give us stable prices and more independence.”

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But it’s an idea not being welcomed by everyone.

For Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, the bloc’s Green Deal is part of the problem.

“The problem for Hungary is that the new regulation of the Green Deal which is an indirect taxation for flat owners, house owners and car owners which is not acceptable.”

Even Philippe Lamberts, Belgian MEP & Co-President of the Greens, acknowledged that the green transition comes at a price, but still recognise that dependency on fossil fuels is bad for both the environment and the long-term health of the economy.

“Fossil fuels have given us the illusion that you can have cheap and abundant energy and this is simply not true,” Lamberts told Euronews.

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