Economy, Europe

‘Europe caused energy crisis for itself’: Belgian city mayor

Belgium is bankrupt, became new Greece amid crisis caused by European energy production cuts, says Bart De Wever

Agnes Szucs  | 07.09.2022 - Update : 07.09.2022
‘Europe caused energy crisis for itself’: Belgian city mayor FILE PHOTO: DBA


Europe has caused an energy crisis for itself by phasing out energy production, the mayor of Belgium's Antwerp city said in a television interview.

Bart De Wever, the Antwerp mayor and leader of the nationalist New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) party, gave an interview to the VRT television channel.

“This is, of course, not a crisis that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin has caused, but that Europe has brought on itself by phasing out its own primary energy production this century,” he asserted.

He explained that exploitation of oil, gas, and coal reserves was not allowed while “the dumbest countries, Germany and Belgium, have phased out nuclear energy in parallel.”

“We could once have made a lot of profit with the nuclear power plants, but now those assets are given away. I think it's a bit cheap that people now realize that it's not all that simple,” he said, referring to the previous Belgium government that decided to shut down two nuclear power plants.

“Belgium is bankrupt, we are the new Greece,” he underlined, adding that his country's public debt and government spending show a worse balance than in most of the Southern European countries that are often blamed for disrespecting budgetary discipline.

According to De Wever, Europe now has to deal with the consequences of “pushing away all energy sources, making ourselves dependent on Putin.”

“In America, people are not in this mess,” he added, asserting that the US has become an oil and gas exporter in 20 years.

At the same time, he pointed out that EU climate standards are hypocritical because European “companies go to America and China to produce, then you are bankrupt and the climate is not saved either.”

De Wever also voiced criticism on the current structure of the bloc’s energy market that enables now “fantastic profits” for renewable energy producers and showed support for the plans on introducing a price cap.

The EU executive body is expected to reveal proposals on reforming the EU energy market to reduce prices later on Wednesday.

EU energy ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Friday.

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