Spain: energy companies forced to give back profits
In reaction to soaring electricity prices, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has announced a package of measures that will apply until March 2022 and includes "redirecting" profits (some 2.4 billion euros) of companies such as nuclear power suppliers that are not affected by the higher costs of natural gas but are benefiting from the higher prices. The companies have announced plans to take legal action against the measures.
Company bashing puts energy supplies at risk
La Razón criticises the left-wing government's plans as irresponsible populism:
“Shifting the responsibility for high electricity prices onto the energy companies, as if they didn't operate in a market strictly regulated by the government, is a farce. Worse still, consumers are being treated like minors - unable to bear the consequences of the agreements signed by Spain in the fight against global warming. The government is ignoring the rules of the game, creating legal uncertainty that will end up damaging the economy because it discourages investors. Most serious of all, however, is the risk of further restricting the sources of energy production.”
Social peace at risk here
El País sees the radical intervention as justified under the circumstances:
“The government's measures against the uncontrolled increase in electricity prices are reasonable. The higher electricity costs threatened to cause a social rift similar to that which prompted the yellow vest protests in France or the mobilisations in Eastern Europe against the wave of refugees in 2015.”