High energy prices: Belgium decides to grant relief

Status: 02.02.2022 02:50 a.m

Electricity prices in Belgium are among the highest in the EU. The government now wants to cushion the rising costs with a package of measures: Households are to receive a one-time payment, social tariffs are to be extended.

By Stephan Ueberbach, ARD Studio Brussels

In Belgium too, like almost everywhere else, energy prices have risen significantly in recent months. In some cases, the costs for consumers have doubled or even tripled. “Everyone feels that life is getting more and more expensive. Above all, energy prices have risen significantly. It has become a difficult situation for many families,” says Prime Minister Alexander de Croo.

Stephen Ueberbach
ARD studio Brussels

household relief package

After long negotiations, the four-party coalition in Brussels has now agreed on a relief package for the citizens. In order to cushion the high prices, every household receives a one-time payment of 100 euros as a so-called heating premium. VAT on electricity will be reduced from 21 to 6 percent for four months from March 1st. For a family, this means an additional relief of 65 euros on average.

The social tariffs for small earners introduced last year will remain in effect until the end of June – three months longer than originally planned. Around one million households across the country are benefiting from the lower electricity, gas and oil prices.

cost of one billion euros

All in all, the Belgian government is spending a billion euros to support consumers. However, the increased energy prices flush the state in return up to 600 million euros in additional tax revenue.

Prime Minister de Croo describes the measures as “targeted” and “sustainable”. The message from the government is: “No one is left behind.”

Electricity prices highest in Belgium and Germany

A reform of consumption taxes is also planned. The levies are to be reduced if energy prices exceed a certain limit. When prices fall, the tax rate increases. On the one hand, this would protect consumers from excessive costs. On the other hand, the state could limit its revenue losses.

According to the comparison portal Verivox, Belgium is at the top of the European Union when it comes to electricity prices, together with Germany and Denmark.

High energy prices: Belgium approves consumer relief

Stephan Ueberbach, SWR Brussels, February 1, 2022 11:29 p.m


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