Has Europe overcome the energy crisis?
The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the Kremlin's policy of partially cutting off Europe's gas supplies in reaction to sanctions caused great anxiety among politicians, business representatives and the population - in particular regarding winter energy supplies. But although the winter is here and a major crisis has failed to materialise, Europe cannot yet rest on its laurels, commentators warn.
Russian weapon has lost its power
Europe has done quite a good job of rising to the challenge, comments the Neue Zürcher Zeitung:
“Energy prices have now fallen to the level they were at before the invasion of Ukraine. The European economy is holding up better than expected. There are growing indications that Russia will have to accept heavy economic losses. The Russian energy weapon has lost its terror for us. ... The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) speculates that this year the share of Russian oil in EU imports could drop from around a third before the Russian war of aggression to just five percent.”
Focus on the vulnerable and the climate
Verslo žinios calls for a rethink:
“Europe is currently enjoying a respite due to the unusually warm (and sometimes even hot) weather. Experts believe that leaders should use the opportunity to rethink the numerous support measures introduced over the summer, many of which are expensive, ineffective and inappropriate. They would do well to focus on providing funds to the vulnerable and linking them to green investments - because the fight against climate change will intensify as soon as the energy crisis has subsided.”
Price caps just a last resort
The Czech Republic needs to prepare for the future, Hospodářské noviny comments:
“It would be a mistake to rest on our laurels. We should admit that our response to the energy crisis was far from perfect and make sure we are better prepared for such situations. No, price caps are really not the right tool. They're more like a fire extinguisher one can fall back on if the right solution isn't found in time. Diversifying gas sources, completing the nuclear power plant programme, expanding renewable energy sources - we have our work cut out for us. And not only in the energy sector.”