Member states of the European Union should adopt a moratorium in relation to cutting off heating during winter for missed payments, so that no family would be cold, note MEPs in a resolution approved on Thursday, 14 April.
In order to enhance poverty corruption measures in the EU by reducing energy costs for households, MEPs have offered to increase support to poor families and invest more money into energy efficiency projects to reduce utility bills for households.
Hungarian rapporteur Tamas Meszerics wrote in the prepared document that electricity should be recognized as first-necessity product. Appropriate heating, lighting, hot water are all necessary for everyday life. With that, a moratorium on cutting off heating during winter will help reduce the number of deaths and serious health problems caused by lack of heating during winter.
This resolution was approved with 310 votes in favour, 73 against and 26 abstaining from the vote, as reported by European Parliament’s press-secretary in Latvia Signe Znotina-Znota.
MEPs explain that the EU is gradually moving away from Europe 2020 strategy, which once provided for the reduction of poor people by at least 20 million in the next four years. The European Commission should assess if the income minimum scheme allows EU households to satisfy their basic needs.
MEPs believe economy, education, employment, energy, transport and social policy can be used in measures to combat poverty. Member states should use European structural and investment funds more effectively to resolve their energy poverty.
The parliament calls for provision of comprehensive information to consumers to enable them to make informed decision in regards to energy consumption. In addition to billing information, consumers should be provided with information on measures aimed to reduce energy consumption and enhance energy efficiency.
MEPs are disappointed that EU regulations on building energy efficiency are used to their full potential and that building renovations are not carried out for less socially protected households. The European Commission should consider adopting stricter rules to encourage member states to include energy efficiency schemes into social plans, MEPs say.
Poor families spend most of their money on food, housing and utilities. According to statistical data across the EU for 2015, 10% of EU residents had missed their payments for utilities. In 2014, 12% of EU residents could not afford sufficient heating of their homes in 2014.
Between 2008 and 2013, the number of poor people in the EU had increased from 117 million to 122.6 million. 16.7% of EU residents were at risk of poverty, 9.6% experienced sever material difficulties and 10.7% of households were considered to haw very low employment intensity.