This month, Europe’s hefty outlay for ensuring energy supplies and cushioning consumers from price increases surpassed €700 billion, as governments increased their interventions in the face of falling temperatures.

According to the Brussels-based think tank Bruegel, countries in the European Union have planned and committed almost €600 billion in support since September 2021 to shield consumers from rising expenses. This is a €50 billion rise over the previous month’s figure. As the area continues to deal with the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, measures in the United Kingdom and Norway add €105 billion to that amount.


Price Ceiling

The latest data are likely to increase pressure on the EU to reach a gas price ceiling before Christmas. The conversations come as temperatures in the northern section of the continent are expected to be “unseasonably cold” next week, according to forecaster Maxar.

The amount spent is nearly equal to the EU’s historic joint bond issuance initiative, which was initiated to help protect the region’s economy from the coronavirus outbreak. Bruegel proposed that the EU establish an energy crisis fund to aid in the fight against the crisis and to level the potential toll on nations’ bottom lines.

The government of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has allocated two-thirds of its €30 billion budget for next year to offer relief to people and companies experiencing high energy bills. This is in addition to the €75 billion already spent to keep the economy afloat. The vast majority of which has gone toward relief measures. These include tax incentives for businesses and families. It also includes tax cuts designed to lower gasoline prices at the pump.

This month, energy ministers will hold the latest in a series of emergency meetings in an attempt to finalize a package of measures to mitigate the effects of rising natural gas prices. The package was halted while countries attempted to overcome a major disagreement over the level at which the price cap should be set.

At the same time, countries are coping with a price ceiling on Russian crude oil exports. It aims to keep flows coming from Moscow while restricting income. The United Nations reported last week that the official civilian death toll from the Ukraine war had increased to roughly 6,900, with over 10,000 civilians injured.

Russia-Ukraine War Impact

It has been impossible to confirm the deaths of military troops in Ukraine. Although, the number of soldiers thought to have been killed in Ukraine is estimated to be 25,000-30,000 for each side. The Economist predicts that this winter’s high gas and power prices will cause an additional 147,000 deaths in typical winter.

If Europe experiences a very harsh winter. It might increase the effects of climate change, and that figure might jump to 185,000. This is a 6.0% increase. It also claims that a hard winter could result in an additional 335,000 deaths. Even in the unlikely event of a moderate winter, that sum would be significant. It might be tens of thousands more deaths than in recent years. If the winter is mild, The Economic estimates 79,000 deaths.

The statistical model used by the Economist comprised all 27 European Union member countries. It also includes the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Norway. Other countries, including Estonia and Finland, might have higher per-person mortality. People in the United Kingdom and France will also have an impact. The model on the effects of high energy prices on fatalities did not include Ukraine.

However, war-related damage to Ukraine’s energy infrastructure would almost certainly have a devastating humanitarian impact on Ukrainians. Many reports have appeared in recent weeks quoting Europeans. Reports say that they might have to turn off the heating due to high fuel prices. Therefore amplifying the effect of cold weather on fatalities by increasing people’s exposure to low temperatures. The elderly and those living alone or on low to medium incomes in Europe will pay the largest price.

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