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EU energy crisis: BusinessEurope warns about shutdown of firms

Illustrative photo by Reuters

The Confederation of European Business has raised the alarm over the energy crisis and skyrocketing cost of gas and electricity across Europe, which may lead to the closure of thousands of EU firms.

In an open letter to President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, the business lobby warned on Thursday that “the current state of high gas and electricity prices bears the imminent risk of production losses and shutdowns of thousands of European companies.”

BusinessEurope also called on the EU to find an urgent solution in order to keep businesses up on their feet.

“Urgently finding ways at EU level to mitigate the impact of crippling energy prices faced by European business is a matter of survival,” the letter read.

The majority of European countries are grappling with the energy crisis in the wake of sanctions against energy-giant Russia over its offensive in Ukraine. As a result, the EU member states are looking for ways to lessen the blow from the soaring costs.

Energy ministers from around the bloc are set to meet in Brussels on Friday amid a push by some nations to establish a price cap on the cost of gas. However, many member states are against the idea as there are stark differences in the energy mixes of EU countries.

BusinessEurope has also warned some businesses are on the brink of collapse and some others are losing in terms of production and turnover.  

“Estimates show that 70 percent of Europe’s fertilizer production has been shut or slowed down, while 50 percent of total aluminum capacity has been lost,” the business confederation said. “There is a real danger that businesses, and in particular energy-intensive industries, relocate outside of Europe permanently.”

The business group considered separating electricity prices from gas prices as a plan to alleviate the crisis. “Policymakers should urgently consider a temporary EU-wide measure to decouple electricity prices from gas prices.”

“This exceptional measure could only be justified by the exceptional situation on the energy market,” the confederation stated.

Fears are growing over a possible recession in the Eurozone with inflation already climbing to an all-time high of 9.1 percent in August. The rate is predicted to be double-digit by the end of this year.

According to the S&P Global Ratings Company, Britain is already experiencing a full-year recession, with the British pound nosediving nearly 5 percent at one point to $1.0327, its lowest since 1971.

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