EU Criticizes Austria's Energy Measures as "Not Goal-Oriented"

PeoplePoliticians ♦ Published: November 22, 2022; 23:14 ♦ (Vindobona)

In the opinion of the EU Commission, Austria's aid measures against high energy prices are "not goal-oriented" enough. The EU authority said today that the federal government had quickly adopted energy policy measures.

The EU is calling on Austria in particular to focus energy aid more on needy households and companies. / Picture: ©

The European Commission has evaluated the budget plans of the euro countries for 2023 and still sees some room for improvement.

However, given budget and debt strains, it would be important to better target such measures at the most vulnerable households and businesses to provide incentives to reduce energy demand.

An extension of existing support measures or the introduction of new support measures in response to high energy prices could lead to higher growth in net current government expenditure and an increase in the public deficit and debt in 2023, the EU Commission warned in the report on the European Semester.

According to the German newspaper Handelsblatt, EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said in Strasbourg that the draft national budgets presented a "mixed picture". It is good that all governments in the eurozone are investing in the green transition of the economy and energy security. But most energy packets failed to be targeted.

Therefore, EU states would have to adjust the measures better and withdraw them, as the ORF reports, "when the pressure on energy prices eases". In addition to Austria, nine other countries, including Germany, have so far only “partially” complied with the EU recommendations.

To ensure that their 2023 budgets are fully in line with the Council's Recommendations, the Commission invites Belgium, Portugal, Austria, Lithuania, Germany, Estonia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Slovenia, and Slovakia to take the necessary actions within the national budgetary process.

According to the fiscal recommendations for 2023, low and medium-debt Member States should maintain an overall neutral policy stance for the growth of primary current expenditures.

It was recommended that high-debt Member States ensure prudent fiscal policy, including limiting the growth of nationally financed primary current expenditures below medium-term potential output growth.

European Commission