The Netherlands has the highest gas price in the EU, FNV wants a price ceiling and higher wages

ANP

Last month, the Netherlands had the highest gas price of all countries in the European Union. This is evident from figures that news hour requested at price comparison site Energie Compare.

Dutch households paid 283 euros per megawatt hour (MWh) of gas in July, more than twice as much as the average EU household. Gas is also about half the price in neighboring countries Germany and Belgium. A month before gas in Sweden was even more expensive than in the Netherlands, but there too they paid less in July than with us: 237 euros per MWh.

Purchasing power crisis

Energy prices have been rising rapidly for some time due to the war in Ukraine. Also the food and rental prices rise sharply. Trade union FNV calls to raise wages and set a gas price cap. “There is a purchasing power crisis such as we have not experienced in decades,” says chairman Tuur Elzinga in news hour.

We also pay relatively much for electricity in the Netherlands: 419 euros per MWh, including taxes and a reduction in energy tax. Only in Italy and Denmark are prices higher.

An average household that has to renew its energy contract will lose about 3700 euros per year extra compared to last year, according to Energiecompare.nl. Budget advisor Nibud warns that one in three households will run into problems as a result. “Some just need to cut back a bit, but there is also a large group who can’t get by even if they budget well,” says Nibud director Arjan Vliegenthart. “And that’s worrisome.”

‘High prices also affect middle incomes’

People with a low income can 1300 euros energy surcharge to request. “That is not enough to keep people above water,” says Vliegenthart. “We see too many groups who structurally have too little income to make ends meet. Also workers.”

The FNV also finds the scheme insufficient. “The target group is too small,” says Elzinga. “The rise in energy prices affects everyone, including people with a middle income. And a temporary supplement is not much of a benefit because inflation is permanent.”

Elzinga believes that employers and the government should take action, for example by raising wages “significantly”. The minimum wage will go into effect from next year up fasterBut that’s not enough, he says. He wants a minimum of 14 euros per hour, “and linked to this an increase in the benefit and the state pension”.

‘Companies make record profits’

In addition, he argues for the introduction of the price law, which would allow the cabinet to introduce a maximum price for groceries or energy. He does not think it is unreasonable that companies then have to lose turnover. “What we’re seeing now is that inflation is impoverishing citizens, while companies… record profits to make. There’s plenty of money, but that’s all with companies.”

Elzinga sees little point in a new social agreement in which unions make agreements with employers to repair the declining purchasing power. “We need a wage wave. We need a decent wage, and I think we have to take to the streets for that, that we have to take action for that. It is now really up to employers and politicians to get over the bridge. “

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