Greece proposes the establishment of an 80-billion-euro (76.7 billion U.S. dollars) fund by European Union (EU) to collectively deal with the impact of the spike in natural gas prices amid the energy crisis, the Greek Environment and Energy Ministry said here on Tuesday.
Ahead of the emergency Council meeting of the energy ministers of the EU member states scheduled for this Friday in Brussels, Greece’s Environment and Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas has sent a letter to Frans Timmermans, executive vice president of the European Commission for the European Green Deal, and the EU’s Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson outlining the proposal, according to a press statement.
According to Athens, the fund should be supported by a special levy of 10 euros per thermal megawatt-hour (MWh) that should be imposed on European power producers for the amount of natural gas they use to produce electricity.
The funds would be utilized to support vulnerable households and small and medium-sized enterprises and to finance investments in alternative fuels, like biomethane and green hydrogen.
Furthermore, the special fund should support energy companies’ emergency needs for system modifications as they try to replace Russian natural gas, as well as efforts to replace natural gas with other fuels, according to the letter.
Greece estimates that the levy would generate nine billion euros annually across the EU, based on 2021 consumption figures.
This sum could be combined with a low-interest loan of 80 billion euros provided by the European Investment Bank, which could be gradually paid off by the annual levy, according to the proposal. (1 euro = 0.96 U.S. dollar) ■