Greek Citizens Concerned About High Energy Prices, Blame EU Policies
HERAKLION, Greece (Sputnik) – Greek citizens living on the island of Crete are concerned over high energy prices while also blaming the European Union for mismanaging its energy policy, leading, in their opinion, to the current situation, according to the people surveyed by Sputnik.
Since 2021, energy prices in EU countries have been surging as part of a global trend. After the beginning of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in February 2022 and the adoption of several packages of sanctions against Moscow by the EU, energy prices have accelerated their growth, placing energy security high on both the global and national agendas, and pushing many European governments to resort to various contingency measures.
In late December, the EU adopted a mechanism for correcting the gas market with a floating price limit after member states agreed a price cap at 180 euros ($191) per megawatt-hour (MWh). It will be automatically activated when the month-ahead price at the TTF exceeds 180 euros per MWh for three working days and when this price is 35 euros higher than the reference price for liquefied natural gas on world markets.
Nevertheless, many people in Europe, including Greece, are already feeling the chilling effect of the ongoing energy crisis, which has many negative consequences on the lives of Europeans.
Manolis, a 67-year-old pensioner and air force veteran, noted a significant decrease in his pension that previously could go up to 1,300 euros a month but now is no more than 700 euros a month, almost half of which goes to pay electricity bills.
“Now, it’s winter and I am using the electricity more in order to get warm as I am using electric heating panels in my house and I don’t even want to think what the bills will be in the end of the winter, I think I will have to make a special arrangement with the electricity provider to pay them in installments in order to repay them for what I will burn this winter, so I will be already in debt for the next winter for my heating budget and the next winter will be even worse,” Manolis said.
Meanwhile, Nikos, a 32-year-old Cretan lawyer, told Sputnik that he is already paying twice as much for heating as he did during the same period last year even though he has not turned on the heating much due to the mild winter.
On the other hand, Giorgos, a 42-year-old dietologist, has not noticed his daily life changing all that much, one exception being fewer Christmas lights this year to save energy. He even went as far as to say that the situation with energy prices has slightly improved.
When asked about the reasons for the current predicament, Nikos singled out what he described as the EU’s “terrible” and “horrible” management of energy security.
“I cannot accept as a European citizen that we are purchasing fossil fuels and especially LNG at this stage at a 5- or 7-times higher price from what it is in the average price in market now, from suppliers that are long standing allies and partners of the EU,” the lawyer said, adding that “it goes beyond politics, this is a macro-financial suicide for Europe, and selling LNG in a time of crisis with such a massive markup to the price, it can even be considered a hostile act, especially by an ally.”
He went on to comment that the skyrocketing cost of imported energy will greatly undermine the living standards of the average European as it will be EU taxpayers and not the elites who will have to foot the bill.
“EU shouldn’t impose any price caps or embargo on Russian energy products, EU shouldn’t use the energy in politics,” Nikos stated.
Manolis, for his part, drew attention to the explosions at the Nord Stream gas pipelines and the question of how the block will be able to get enough gas in the future.
“Europe should be realistic and look for suppliers which will be able to provide the energy needed for the winter, but in general it is unaccepted for the EU with its global influence not to be able to provide energy security to its citizens and to ask its citizens to wear more jumpers in order to cope with the cold weather. Europe is becoming the Third World of the Western World recently,” Manolis concluded.