The energy bill is more and more expensive and it could increase further, according to forecasts. To support the purchasing power of households, Belgium is asking for a price cap at European level. But could she take such a step at her level? We put the question to Bertrand Candelon, economist at the Catholic University of Louvain. “Capping means that we put selling prices below market prices, so if the consumer buys at a price below that of the market, ultimately it is the State that will have to subsidize, compensate so there will be a public debt, that’s what we see in France.”
First explanation: the public debt would be higher. Second reason: the price of gas is set at European level, which means that Europe has more leverage to negotiate with gas-producing countries. Belgium therefore opts first for a cap at European level. “It will give more credibility to government measures, it will strengthen this feeling of European social role, and at the same time it will reduce the risk of additional competition between States”, adds Adel El Gammal, expert in the geopolitics of energy at the Free University of Brussels.
According to the Minister of Energy Tinne Van der Straeten (ECOLO-GROEN), capping prices on a European scale would save money: 770 euros per year less on your gas bill.