The current energy crisis is mainly caused by the large deficit in the global natural gas market that has developed since mid-2021 and the geopolitical crisis that resulted in the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Gas flows from Russia to Europe, in fact, have plummeted in recent months, especially penalizing Italy (down 50 percent year on year) and Germany (down 80 percent).
Although the European Commission and member states are devising various emergency measures to address the crisis, no action appears decisive in effectively and quickly resolving the current gas shortage. Some proposals, however, may mitigate the most negative effects on end users, inflation and economic growth. The European Commission has proposed: cuts of about 15% in gas consumption and about 10% in electricity consumption, but with an obligation to reduce energy consumption by about 5% at peak hours; subsidies to weaker end-users financed by a cap on electricity producers' remunerations and solidarity contributions for companies that produce or refine fossil fuels.
This crisis has a European dimension and cannot be solved without greater integration of national electricity markets and a common energy policy. Therefore, the rapid adoption of coordinated actions among states is essential to prevent heterogeneous policies from undermining the continent's energy security and the functioning of the internal market.