In the face of this energy crisis, indecisiveness and disunity among EU leaders does not help anyone

If Garth Brooks ruled the country with his fabled friends in “low places,” there might be an excuse for not getting things done.

ut Tánaiste Leo Varadkar fails to channel the hallmark of country and western stars no matter what comes over the hill.

Also, as the second most powerful person in government, he has ties to “high places.”

It was therefore disconcerting to hear him say ahead of his party’s think tank in Kilkenny that the government is not “ruling out” concrete action to tackle energy prices and is watching what other countries are doing. But it’s time to hear what “rules” it.

Usually thinking and observing is all well and good. Right now, people are deeply concerned about an energy crisis that could see them shelling out $6,000 a year on bills.

In a crisis that happens only once in a generation, no government can afford to wait for its ship to come in. She has to swim there.

Given the scale of the emergency, a watch-and-wait approach simply won’t cut it.

It has been more than six months since the Russian invasion of Ukraine plunged the EU economy into such deep uncertainty. It was also extremely disheartening to see that the bloc’s energy ministers again failed to reach a resolve at their special meeting in Brussels on the energy crisis.

“At the moment we need exceptional intervention measures to deal with the high and very volatile prices,” said EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson. However, no such concrete steps could be agreed, betraying a lack of leadership and direction.

Progress in prioritizing compensating households and helping businesses with winter on our doorstep has been essential. Exhaustive discussions on “definition of mandates” to put pressure on Moscow and prevent corporate profiteering are underway. But a persistent and shameful lack of consensus has hampered the process.

Instead of finding solutions, governments – including our own – are pressuring consumers to simply reduce their energy consumption.

There are ecological and economic arguments for this, but that is not enough. The “extraordinary intervention methods” promised by Ms. Simson are needed now.

The EU and the state must support families and companies to cope with this massive financial shock.

There is also an overwhelming need to send a clear message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that Europe agrees to cap prices and limit its ability to fund wars.

But instead we see that Hungary refused to agree. Other countries are also arguing about whether an upper price limit should only apply to Russia or also to other producers.

Just as in the early stages of the pandemic, the bloc presents itself far from a show of solidarity with a familiar, divided front.

The sight of EU countries giving each other the cold shoulder is sure to evoke a warm glow in the Kremlin. In the face of this energy crisis, indecisiveness and disunity among EU leaders does not help anyone

Fry Electronics Team

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