EU Leaders to Seek Household, Industry Energy-Cost Study

European Union leaders will call for a study of energy prices and costs facing households and energy-intensive industries, according to draft conclusions of their May 22 summit.

“The impact of high energy prices and costs must be addressed,” according to the draft, dated May 13 and obtained by Bloomberg News. The draft says the European Commission will present their analysis of energy-price “composition and drivers” before the end of 2013 for talks in February 2014.

The 27-nation bloc’s leaders also will call for EU and national measures to boost financing opportunities throughout the economy, according to the draft. It specifies trying to make more use of the European Investment Bank, in particular for energy and resource-efficiency projects.

EU leaders will gather in Brussels to discuss energy and tax issues against the backdrop of a weakening economy and record unemployment. The European Commission on May 3 said the 17-nation euro-area economy is set to shrink for a second straight year, with the 27-nation EU also expected to contract.

With joblessness above 12 percent in the euro area, the draft conclusions say energy policy can serve as an incentive for private-sector investment.

“Significant investments in new and intelligent energy infrastructure are needed to secure the uninterrupted supply of energy at affordable prices,” according to the draft. “Their financing should largely come from the market.”

Tax evasion is another target for nations seeking to bolster revenue. The draft summit conclusions lay out a timeline on legislative efforts aimed at fighting tax fraud and limiting “aggressive tax planning and profit shifting.”

A separate draft document, dated May 8 and prepared for a meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels tomorrow, says the EU “invites consideration” of whether it should develop its own list of non-EU jurisdictions deemed non cooperative on tax issues. After finance ministers weigh those conclusions, they will be passed up to the leaders for discussion May 22.

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