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High time for a fifth fundamental European freedom: energy

(EurActiv, 1 Mar 2024) The EU is based on four fundamental freedoms but it is time for a fifth: the free movement of energy. Integrated clean energy markets positively influence climate protection and future economic success, argues Monika Köppl-Turyna.

Monika Köppl-Turyna is an economics professor and director at EcoAustria, the institute for economic research.

Europe is still in the midst of an energy crisis while global competitors in America and Asia buy gas and electricity much more cheaply than here. This is having a severe impact on growth and competitiveness, reflected in low economic indicators, stagnating investment and weak exports.

The EU’s winter forecast predicts growth of just 0.9% for the European Union in 2024, with countries such as Austria and Germany, which rely on energy for industrial production, growing even more slowly.

Short-term policy measures are aimed at avoiding gas shortages and reducing the burden on consumers. Sustainable solutions, however, are needed, as price subsidies create the wrong incentives and are not financially viable in the long term.

National subsidy competitions waste taxpayers’ money without having a positive impact on competitiveness. A sustainable European energy system must therefore be established in the medium and long term.

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EurActiv, 1 Mar 2024: High time for a fifth fundamental European freedom: energy