EU summit: lacking unity yet again

Despite the pressing problems, Angela Merkel's last EU summit brought no concrete decisions. The member states were unable to agree on joint measures either in the judicial dispute with Poland or on the question of migration via Belarus. A decision on the Spanish proposal to secure lower energy prices through joint gas purchases was also postponed. Commentators voice their disappointment.

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La Repubblica (IT) /

Back to a sobering normality

Nothing seems to be left of the resolve Europe previously demonstrated during the pandemic, La Repubblica contends:

“Are the citizens of this community to be systematically confronted with a Europe that comes through in states of emergency and disappoints as soon as things return to normal? ... In any case, on Friday the EU dived back into the 'normality' of vetoes and national interests. ... No decision on dealing with the refugee crisis. No decision on how to protect citizens from another explosion in energy prices. ... No operative decision on Poland's outrageous attitude towards the EU treaties and the concept of democracy. No concrete decision on how to convince the states which have so far been rather reluctant to vaccinate their population to change course.”

The Irish Times (IE) /

Too hesitant to tackle high energy prices

The measures agreed in Brussels against rising gas and electricity prices will have little impact, says The Irish Times:

“The European Council's debate on energy and soaring gas prices revealed fundamental differences in both assessment and approaches that saw leaders only able to agree a package of short- term measures - income support for vulnerable households, state aid for struggling firms, and reductions in taxes and levies. ... Radical measures, such as Spanish calls for the EU to buy gas in common to avail of greater purchasing power and bring down prices, were kicked down the road.”

El Periódico de Catalunya (ES) /

Inflated electricity prices cause a domino effect

El Periódico de Catalunya fears that the consequences of a passive energy policy could be fatal:

“In the background of the discussion postponed until December by the European Council is the difficulty of reconciling the goals with the interests and needs of the energy companies, which oppose any initiative that aims to reform or intervene in the electricity market. ... But such action seems inevitable because there is not enough room for manoeuvre in taxation to mitigate the crisis, unless one wants the treasury to be the main victim of a corrective mechanism. ... A normalisation will not come until the spring at the earliest. ... That could already be too late to avoid many of the domino effects caused by spiralling electricity prices.”

Tageblatt (LU) /

Member states hiding behind the Commission

Tageblatt is disappointed that the EU states have not agreed on a clear stance vis-à-vis Poland and Hungary:

“This is by no means surprising, because for years the EU states have done precious little against the progressive transformation into illiberal states of two countries - not just Poland but also Viktor Orban's Hungary - that escaped authoritarian regimes just a few decades ago. ... The EU states cannot keep hiding behind the Commission as the guardian of the treaties. They must assume their share of responsibility and finally speak frankly to the governments in Warsaw and Hungary. This opportunity was missed at the summit.”