2023 promises a high level of tension in the area of trade policy for various reasons. First and foremost, there are final negotiations on numerous trade agreements, which are to be observed critically, especially from the perspective of sustainability. The potential acceleration of the entry into force of already concluded trade agreements by splitting off the investment part is also explosive from a democratic policy perspective.
In order to contribute to an objective debate on decoupling the electricity price from the gas price and to create the basis for a quick implementation, AK has commissioned the Austrian Energy Agency (AEA) to examine the effects of the implementation of the Iberian model in a two-part study.
The Executive Summary of the second part of the study regarding the EU-wide implementation of the "Iberian Model":
AK is convinced that the EU-wide implementation of the "Iberian model" to decouple the electricity price from the gas price would contribute significantly to reducing the economic costs of this crisis.
In order to contribute to an objective debate and to create the basis for a quick implementation, AK has commissioned the Austrian Energy Agency (AEA) to examine the effects of the implementation of the Iberian model in a two-part study.
Since the dramatic increase in gas and electricity prices over recent months, the EU Commission has presented four emergency regulations. Whilst the first one has already been enforced, at their meeting on 24 November 2022, the energy ministers agreed on two additional regulations. However, so far there has been little support for the fourth Commission proposal for a gas price cap.
In view of the still broad resistance against the conclusion of the EU-Mercosur Agreement, the EU Commission plans to split association agreements in the future. At the moment, this would primarily apply to the EU-Mercosur Agreement, where the controversial trade section could come into effect in spite of justified criticism and without the approval of individual national governments and/or parliaments.
As part of implementing the Green Deal to turn Europe into a climate-neutral continent by 2050, the European Commission launched the next legislative package on 26 October 2022 to achieve cleaner air and water. However, another priority is to improve the options for compensation in case of infringements.
New steps on the (re)alignment of EU economic policy can be expected before the end of autumn. Together with more than 180 other organisations and academics, AK has signed an open letter, which calls for a just and sustainable reform of EU fiscal rules.
International trade relations can play an important role in the move towards a green and more just global economy. This is the view given by the EU Commission in its Communication on the power of trade partnerships presented on 22 June 2022. Even though the proposals named therein take up longstanding demands, at the same time they fall short in view of climate change and global inequality as established by AK in its current position paper.
As a result of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and economic retaliation measures, energy prices have reached record levels – and they continue to rise. At the same time, time is running out to counteract the climate crisis. For that reason, AK EUROPA and Oesterreichische Nationalbank hosted a joint event to discuss measures to tackle energy prices and inflation whilst at the same time accelerating the green transition.
At this years State of the Union Address on 14 September 2022, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced an excess profit (windfall) tax for energy companies. This means levying the profits generated by the energy sector due to rising energy prices and redistributing them to consumers. On the same day, Vice President Frans Timmermans and EU Commissioner Kadri Simson presented the concrete draft regulation.