Europe is facing yet another tough dilemma as it grapples with climate change and social unrest. European Union leaders have set very ambitious goals for the green growth transition, which are however driving up energy prices.
According to a report published on the political news website Politico, the issue has become a headache for European governments and senior officials are expressing concerns that soaring energy prices could soon spark yellow vest-type protests across the capitals of Europe.
Nevertheless, the European Commission remains steadfast in fulfilling its very strict targets that will impact on the finances of every European household. It’s a tricky balance as the bloc wants to style itself as a global leader in tackling climate change. At the same time, national governments are reacting as they feel the pressure from their electorates. Furthermore, the cost of adapting to very strict standards could undermine the competitiveness of European products.
Price increases in basic goods have in the past sparked big political and social turmoil. Citizens are now faced with a wave of inflation in everything from building materials to cars and coffee. There are many reasons behind this trend, which are not always straightforward.
However, people hardly care about the causes; they only care about the fact that they cannot make ends meet. Governments are doing what they can to alleviate the shock. However, the pressure will intensify, and, what’s worse, at a time when the anti-systemic wave is swelling.
Social media combined with fake news about the Covid-19 vaccines and the ostensible oppression in the safety measures implemented to stop the spread of the virus had already created a perfect storm. Price hikes are yet another ingredient in that explosive mix.