Europe grapples with energy crunch and rising prices

European households should prepare to pay even higher electricity and gas bills in the coming months. Some European countries, like Spain, are passing emergency measures like capping prices and limiting utilities’ profits. The aim is to slow down the current price hike and avoid social and political repercussions. “Climate and energy policies have become a cleavage and conflict line in our societies. That has to be politically hedged and managed to sustain social peace and avoid ramifications on the cohesion in the European Union,” Kirsten Westphal, senior analyst at the nonprofit German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), told DW. The EU has plenty of programs to intervene in long-term measures to speed up the transformation of the energy systems and promote its plan of a so-called green recovery from the pandemic. The member states, whose budgets are already overstretched, are responsible for immediate measures to curb price jumps. But Spain is now calling for “a European policy menu predesigned to react to dramatic price surges.”