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50 million EU citizens enduring energy poverty

Jerome Hughes
Press TV, Brussels 


The European Commission's Joint Research Centre says 50 million people in the EU are suffering the effects of so-called energy poverty.

It means households are having to prioritize food over heat. EU energy ministers have been meeting in Brussels to assess the crisis.

But that means almost a third of EU governments have not taken any action to protect citizens. Gas and electricity prices are out of control. Civil society organisations are forecasting that energy poverty will be hitting 80 million people in the EU before winter is over.

The EU's dysfunctional energy market is currently in a state of flux. The bloc is heavily dependent on Russia's gas. The European Commission confirms Moscow is fulfilling all of its supply contracts. However, energy storage is a problem in the EU. Supplies were depleted last winter due to unusually cold weather. Then there was huge demand when EU nations began lifting COVID-19 restrictions.

Energy experts say the EU could benefit if it improved relations with Russia. The 27-county bloc could also push back against US foreign policy so that new supply chains could be utilized, for example with respect to Iran which has enormous energy reserves.

EU leaders are divided over how to deal with the crisis but it's clear there are no quick fixes. The matter will be high on their agenda when they meet here in just under two week's time for a summit on the 16th of December.

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