EU's Kovács says the key is energy diversification, not tax cuts
The EU suffered an energy crisis at the beginning of this year when Russia's OAO Gazprom, the world's biggest natural-gas producer, stopped deliveries to Ukraine in a dispute over prices. Polish Finance Minister Stanislaw Kluza said last week the government is not currently planning to eliminate a tax reduction of 7.8 cents on fuel introduced in September 2005 by the previous government of the Democratic Left Alliance and intended for a period of only three months. According to an EU agreement made when Poland became a member of the 25-member bloc two years ago, the country has until 2009 to gradually bring its fuel tax up to a minimum of € 359 ($452) per 1,000 liters, the European Commission said in an e-mailed response to questions. The Polish government is also seeking ways to diversify its energy supplies after arguing in vain for the EU to condemn a gas pipeline being built underneath the Baltic Sea by Gazprom and two German companies, bypassing Poland. According to Kovács, the EU must increase the proportion of fuel it gets from renewable sources and reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. (Bloomberg)
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