BRUSSELS, 22 Oct – One of the main reasons families in the European Union have been hit so hard by rising energy prices is low wages, but EU leaders skirted this topic at the summit, said Luca Visentini, Secretary General of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).
“One of the main reasons families have been hit so hard by the increase in energy prices is low wages, but this topic seems to be completely absent from the European Council’s discussions,” he said in a statement posted on the organization’s website.
Even before the current price crisis, 9.5 million working people in Europe had difficulty paying their heating bills, he says.
“One of the most effective EU actions to tackle energy poverty would be to strengthen the minimum wage directive, which would ensure that wages cannot be set below the poverty line,” Visentini said.
The European Commission should also reconsider its plans to extend the ETS system to buildings in EU countries, which could add 35-40 euros per month to electricity bills for residents. The secretary general recalls that alternative energy sources for buildings that reduce emissions are not yet widely available for families to switch to.
The heads of state of the EU on the first day of the summit on October 21, discussed greatly increased energy prices and their impact on the region’s residents and businesses. They also talked about how to respond to the situation. The leaders intend to return to the discussion of the issue at the summit in December, it was reported in the conclusion to the summit held in Brussels.