Responses to the energy crisis: The cases of Germany, France, Italy and Spain
Fecha: mayo 2022
The global shortage of fossil fuels, which developed in the middle of last year and gained momentum in the aftermath of the invasion of Ukraine, has had a strong macroeconomic impact. The most visible effects are higher inflation and slower economic growth, moving Europe to the brink of stagflation. In this context, this article compares the responses to the energy crisis of Germany, France, Italy and Spain. All four countries carried out similar measures, with a view to: i) cushion the impact of higher energy costs on vulnerable households and enterprises (especially in Germany and France); ii) directly curb inflation via oil price subsidies (all four countries) or electricity price caps (notably France and Spain); and iii) tackle windfall profits (in particular in Italy). These initiatives may help attenuate consumer price trends, while also reducing the burden of the crisis on disadvantaged groups and sectors. However, they are temporary in nature, so they are not necessarily adapted to a long-lasting crisis – not to mention the fact that their cost to the public accounts ranges from 15 to nearly 30 billion euros over the next few months. Moreover, the measures leave entirely open their consistency with energy transition goals.