EU decision-making too slow says Polish PM
The decision-making process in the EU in reaction to the energy crisis is very slow, Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister, said at the 31st Economic Forum in Poland's mountain resort of Karpacz on Wednesday.
"No matter how we assess the EU, one thing is certain: its decision-making process, especially in a situation where external circumstances are changing fast, is very slow," Morawiecki said. "This machine, which mainly serves the biggest and the most important players, is apparently stuck."
According to Morawiecki, this assessment is shared by a number of smaller EU member states.
Morawiecki went on to say that his government was building a coalition of countries in the EU in order to reduce the prices of emission rights (ETS), and to change the EU's method of calculating energy costs. He also said the EU must find an adequate response to Russia's gas blackmail.
The prices of coal, natural gas and oil shot up after Russia invaded Ukraine in February. Russia, a major supplier of energy to Europe, has been using energy for political purposes, cutting off or limiting supplies to exert pressure on European governments. Poland has banned the import of Russian coal.
"An adequate answer is to remodel the energy and climate policy," Morawiecki said, accusing the EU of using its current "tools of climate policy as if nothing happened."
European Commission (EC) President Ursula von der Leyen has already ruled out a cap on the ETS rates, saying that the spike in energy prices was caused by Russia's war in Ukraine, not by EU climate policy.
Turning to the topic of Ukraine and its financial problems, the prime minister urged the EC to swiftly pay out support funds for Ukraine. European leaders in June approved a support package for Ukraine, worth EUR 9 billion, to help the country remain solvent while it is fending off Russian attacks.
"Today I urge (the EC - PAP) to transfer these support funds, not only grants, but also loans," Morawiecki said, adding that the bankruptcy of the Ukrainian state could create unpredictable circumstances.
He also suggested that some Western European countries could be supporting Moscow's plan to "bring Ukraine to its knees by cutting it off from any financial support from the West," although he admitted it was "a far-reaching thesis".