EU energy chief warns against new taxes if sector to remain competitive

Date: 05/04/2013

There should be no new taxes on energy within the EU if the continent´s industrial sector is to remain competitive with US rivals fuelled by cheap shale gas in the US, the EU´s energy chief has told the Guardian.

Günther Oettinger was speaking as David Cameron´s government prepared for a bruising collision with the European commission over renewable energy in a policy clash that could shape the development of energy infrastructure for decades to come.

Oettinger said that Europe´s industry must become more efficient and that energy markets must be further liberalised across the bloc if the EU is not to fall behind US industry.

“To compete we must have a functioning internal market for electricity, with more competition (among energy suppliers),” the commissioner for energy said.

“Energy efficiency is very important – we must consume less. And no new taxes on energy, and no higher taxes on energy, to get to a suitable price for energy consumers.”

Manufacturers in Europe have been increasingly concerned about the impact of competition coming from the United States, where the massive expansion of shale gas has sent gas prices plummeting to less than a fifth of those seen in the EU and other countries such as Japan.

American manufacturers are beginning to take advantage of the price gap, Oettinger claimed.

Source: The Guardian