The governments of 25 European Union (EU) countries have allocated a total of some EUR 236 billion since last September towards measures to shield businesses and citizens against the rising energy prices. The policies range from tax breaks to financial aid for households, according to Brussels-based think tank Bruegel.
One of the measures most of the observed EU countries have opted for is to reduce energy taxes, including a pause in charging the green electricity levy, as is the case in Austria, for example. Also, most EU member states have introduced direct payments (transfers) to vulnerable households.
Most EU countries have opted for energy tax breaks and aid to households
Other types of responses recorded by Bruegel include ceilings on retail and wholesale prices of electricity and gas, windfall profit taxes, and support to businesses. In Greece, for instance, the government is subsidizing electricity and natural gas bills for households and small businesses.
Four EU countries account for the bulk of the allocations
Most of the total allocated amount, or over EUR 180 billion, is recorded in four countries – Germany (60.2 billion), Italy (EUR 49.5 billion), France (EUR 44.7 billion), and Spain (EUR 27.3 billion).
Bruegel noted that all the measures have been “discussed, proposed or enacted” since September 2021, when the energy crisis was already unfolding. The figures cover national policies only, while measures at the sub-national and supra-national levels, though no less relevant, are excluded from the scope, the think tank said.