Thu. Dec 1st, 2022

European energy ministers are at loggerheads over plans to cap gas prices to help consumers. They hope to find a solution at a meeting next week.

But for some businesses, any new measures on gas and electricity bills will be too little, too late.

In the Dutch city of Delft, Jack Van Roon had to make the heartbreaking decision to close his bakery.

“The problem is that fuel prices are skyrocketing,” Jack Van Roon told Euronews. “At a certain point you can no longer keep up. Now I pay 1,400 euros a month, and soon it could be 12,000 or 13,000 euros. That’s the expectation in November and it’s impossible to continue like that.”

The European Commission proposes a temporary price ceiling and claims that if EU countries negotiate together with suppliers, they can lower the price.

Capping gas prices across Europe is far from a done deal

But capping gas prices across Europe is far from a done deal. France, Italy, Romania and a dozen other EU countries are in favor. Mr. Van Loon’s Dutch government and Germany are against the idea, arguing that natural gas suppliers will simply find other buyers.

If energy ministers cannot agree on a plan next week, heads of state will discuss it in mid-December.

Since the start of the energy crisis in September 2021, almost 600 billion euros have been allocated to EU countries to protect consumers and businesses from rising energy costs.

But for Jack Van Roon in Delft, and many others in high-energy sectors, the latest debates are little more than hot air. His time is up, and a cold economy means the former baker must find a new job, and his loyal customers must look elsewhere for their daily bread.

This Thursday at 21:45 CET and throughout the weekend, watch Euronews Witness report on struggling bakers in Romania, Italy and the Netherlands.