EU countries obliged to save energy; at least five percent

The Energy Ministers believe that ten percent less energy should be used in the EU countries: five percent mandatory and another five percent voluntary. That should come into effect on December 1, if their three-point plan is approved by the government leaders at an additional EU summit next week.

The Energy Ministers leave the concrete implementation to the EU countries themselves; there will not be a binding package for all countries. It would be a requirement for each individual Member State, but it is up to each country to decide for itself how this is implemented. 

That is why the ministers did not agree with the request of the European agricultural umbrella organization Copa-Cogeca to exclude companies in the food chain from the mandatory energy savings. A request from animal organizations was also rejected to temporarily shut down the 'energy-consuming' factory industry.

In addition to the mandatory savings (between December and April), the mega profits from non-fossil-fired wind and solar parks are skimmed off in order to give citizens and companies a discount, and power plants that run on fossil fuels (gas, coal, oil) must have a ' solidarity contribution' from their profits.

There has been talk on the part of the European Commission that these excess profits could bring as much as €140 billion in aid to the EU countries, which they can channel to their households and businesses.

A maximum price on the import of Russian gas has not yet been reached. The Netherlands is there for that. A number of other countries, including Hungary, which is heavily dependent on gas from Russia, are not. The Netherlands believes that the other EU countries should support the eastern countries that are still largely dependent on Russian gas.