The European Union is on the verge of a “full stop” energy crisis, the prime minister of Belgium warned on Thursday.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo called for the EU to enact price caps on energy in response, Bloomberg reported.
De Croo warned that if Europe did not immediately act to stem the looming shortage, it could experience an economic catastrophe that it would not be able to recover from.
“A few weeks like this and the European economy will just go into a full stop. Recovering from that is going to be much more complicated than intervening in gas markets today,” he told Bloomberg News. “The risk of that is de-industrialization and severe risk of fundamental social unrest.”
He called on the EU to implement an overall price cap on gas trading, and said the measure was necessary to prevent an economic shutdown.
“I honestly do not see any other choice than doing market interventions,” De Croo said. “We don’t get a second chance to prove as 450 million Europeans that we take things in our hands. What you are seeing today is a massive drainage of prosperity out of the European Union.”
De Croo made the statement shortly before the opening of a meeting between the EU’s 27 energy ministers in Brussels to discuss ways of intervening in European energy markets.
“I think we don’t have the space to again say, ok, we put something in the text and then we meet each other in two months,” he said. “In two months, with these prices, I fear it’s too late.”
He said that Belgium will be alright during the winter months but added if any other European nations have to endure blackouts, it will be a “gigantic problem for all of us.”