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Ukraine war: EU chief sets out plans to tackle energy crisis

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By Patrick Jackson

BBC News

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen in Strasbourg, 14 SeptemberImage source, Reuters

Image caption,

Ursula von der Leyen was making her annual State of her Union speech

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen has called for cuts to electricity use across the 27 states and windfall taxes on energy firms to tackle high prices.

She told the European Parliament that gas and electricity prices had reached record levels and hit all-time highs after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

She called for electricity consumption to be cut at peak hours by at least 5%.

But plans for a cap on the price of natural gas, a key Russian export to the EU, were put on the backburner.

The plan outlined in Strasbourg targets “excess revenues” with proposals to skim the profits of low-carbon electricity producers and implement a de facto windfall tax on the oil, gas and coal sectors.

The money raised, estimated to be €140bn (£121bn; $141bn), would go to families and businesses.

The EU’s member states will pore over the proposals with hopes of an agreement by the end of this month.

Ms von der Leyen also announced she would be visiting Ukraine again later on Wednesday for talks with President Volodymyr Zelensky, saying: “Europe’s solidarity with Ukraine will remain unshakeable.”

EU sanctions on Russia “are here to stay”, she said, adding: “This is the time for us to show resolve, not appeasement.”

Ukraine has officially been a candidate for accession to the EU since June.

It recently began a counter-offensive to drive back Russian troops, reportedly regaining more than 6,000 sq km (2,317 sq miles) of territory in the east and the south this month.

Media caption,

Watch: The BBC’s Ros Atkins on… Ukraine’s fightback

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todaySeptember 14, 2022 1