The Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament launched their campaign ‘END Energy Poverty’ in the presence of local and European politicians, citizens and civil society representatives yesterday in Ghent (Belgium).
Maroš Šefčovič, vice-president for the Energy Union; Konrad Mizzi, minister within the office of the Maltese Prime Minister and chair of the Energy Council; S&D MEPs from different European member states; and Daniël Termont, Mayor of Ghent, attended the launch of the campaign, spoke with stakeholders and visited the local Dampoort KnapT OP project. The project renovates the houses of emergency buyers and makes them energy-efficient, using a public revolving fund.
On the occasion of the launch of the ‘END Energy Poverty’ campaign S&D vice-president Kathleen Van Brempt, said:
“50 million households in Europe live in energy poverty. Rising energy prices hit low-income households the hardest: parents who cannot afford to heat their house to keep their children warm; pensioners who after a hard working life have their electricity cut off for non-payment of bills. No one should have to choose between heating or eating.”
“With the ‘END Energy Poverty’ campaign we want to raise awareness in order to protect the most vulnerable people and we must put the fight against energy poverty at the heart of our work on the energy union. The S&D Group has put forward a manifesto of 10 recommendations to tackle energy poverty. For us, energy policy is one pillar of our comprehensive vision of a progressive, fair and sustainable Europe.”
“If we want to succeed in the transition towards an energy-efficient, low-carbon society, we will not only need macro-solutions, but micro-solutions on a local level as well. Therefore cooperation with the Mayors of European cities is essential to knowing the needs of the European citizens.”
In November, the European Commission published its ‘Affordable Energy for All’ package; an impressive raft of legislative proposals which the European energy market must now subscribe to. The package includes proposals on unifying the energy market, fighting global warming, the transition to renewable energy and improving energy efficiency. The energy efficiency of buildings is one of the areas of attention as, for example, two thirds of European houses do not meet energy efficiency standards.
The European Socialists and Democrats believe that the issue of rising energy poverty requires greater attention from all legislators. For instance, the Energy Package does not include an ambitious action plan for tackling energy poverty. The Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament has written a manifesto on this topic, which you can read here.
Over the next few months, the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament will take part in discussions on the Commission proposals in order to ensure the fight against energy poverty is prioritised. In their manifesto, the S&D Group also urges the Commission to work closely with the Covenant of Mayors, in order to facilitate the exchange of best practices between local governments, regions and member states.