Belgium wants to hit harder than Europe

He wanted to go beyond the measures taken on Friday 30 September by his European colleagues and, no doubt, also express his dissatisfaction with the Commission’s hesitations. The Belgian energy minister, Tinne Van der Straeten, a Flemish ecologist, presented on the table of Alexander De Croo’s government a project to tax the super-profits of gas, electricity, oil and alternative energy. Objective of the text unveiled on Monday 3 October: to recover 4.7 billion euros, for 2022 and 2023, to help families and businesses.

While social tension is growing in the country and requests for help from citizens and businesses increase, the government of the Honorable De Croo, a prisoner of budgetary constraints, has adopted some measures deemed insufficient in the face of the explosion of gas and electricity tariffs . Failing to establish a real tariff shield, he announced the reduction of VAT to 6%, the creation of a social tariff which will benefit 1 million households and promised energy checks – partly taxable for the wealthiest – for November and December.

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For the rest, Belgian federal and regional officials have passed the ball to Europe, asking – along with 14 other member countries – that the Commission quickly propose a cap on wholesale gas prices and that states agree on the taxation of super-profits. of energy companies. M.myself Van der Straeten left the Ministerial meeting of the Twenty-Seven, which was held on Friday in Brussels, almost satisfied.

Cost of the interventions: about 440 million euros

Member States have agreed to authorize exceptional profits from the nuclear, renewable and lignite sectors as soon as the price per megawatt hour (MWh) exceeds € 180. The Belgian minister intends to impose a levy of 130 euros, and not just 1uh December to June 30, 2023, as foreseen in the agreement reached on Friday, but for the whole of 2022 and 2023.

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Furthermore, how to allow Belgium 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 the market players are foreign? The environmental leader suggests withdrawing 1.5 cents per liter imported into the kingdom. Enough, according to estimates, to bring about 600 million euros to be allocated, like all the revenues generated, to the reduction of the population’s bills.

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

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