The Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, has guaranteed this Wednesday that the Government will lower electricity, gas and gasoline in the decree that it plans to approve on March 29, whether or not there is a consensus at the European summit next week. This was stated in the press conference after the meeting he has held in Congress with the PP, the first of the parties with which he plans to meet this Wednesday in the framework of the round of contacts that he has started to explore measures response to the economic consequences of the war in Ukraine.
Bolaños has stressed that the Executive is “fully aware” of what it is costing to fill the gas tank, pay the electricity bill and keep the houses warm in the country. “And, for this reason, what the Government will do is lower the price” of these three services, he has said, hand in hand with the European partners and hopes that also with the rest of the political forces. In any case, he wanted to make it clear whether or not there is consensus at the European level on this matter, the Government will bet on a drop that will be “simple and immediate” for Spanish households, companies and the self-employed.
Shortly before, the Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, had stated that “different alternatives” are being studied in the face of the sharp rise in fuel prices, and now she must decide whether to “lower taxation or give aid” based on which of these measures “has a better yield”. Shortly after, the Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, has promised to lower the prices of fuel, electricity and gas in the coming days.
The Second Vice President and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, for her part, had bet in the control session in Congress that the “great benefits” of the electric companies serve to “alleviate” the loss of purchasing power of salaries. “Do you agree that these great benefits serve to alleviate the loss of purchasing power of workers today?” She asked the Conservative party bench. Díaz has affirmed that the Executive is “in it” and that “they will find him” there. The Cabinet, she added, is willing to take “all necessary measures” to guarantee the purchasing power of the Spanish.
This Monday, the Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Mathias Cormann, defended during his visit to Madrid a tax increase on electricity companies to compensate for the rise in electricity prices in recent years. months. “There is capacity to increase taxes on these companies to cushion the effects of rising energy prices on certain groups, as they have already done Italy and Romania”, remarked the head of the thinktank of the rich countries.
He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.
The International Energy Agency (IEA, dependent on the OECD) calculates that, under current market conditions, energy companies can obtain in 2022 joint windfall profits of up to €200 billion from gas, coal, nuclear, hydropower and renewables.
Pivotal summit in Brussels
The next few days will be key to knowing how far the European Union is willing to go to cut the rise in electricity prices in its tracks. The bloc’s heads of state and government hope to reach an agreement in this regard at the summit on Thursday and next Friday in Brussels. The positions, however, remain very distant: while Spain and other southern countries advocate applying price caps in the wholesale market, Germany prefers formulas that do not imply modifying the design of the market.
The European Commission, for its part, put on the table the possibility of taxing the so-called profits that fell from the sky to later redistribute them among energy consumers and has opened the door to setting price limits in the retail market. The governments of the bloc, however, have asked Brussels for a new proposal on which to build a consensus. Whether it is reached or not, Spain will take its own measures.