The EU has laid out plans to raise €140bn (£121bn) by capping revenues for non-gas energy suppliers as part of a radical effort to halt the escalating crisis.
Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission President, said the funds would come from capping revenues for producers of low-cost power such as renewables and nuclear.
She told politicians in Brussels: “In these times it is wrong to receive extraordinary record revenues and profits benefiting from war and on the back of our consumers. In these times, profits must be shared and channelled to those who need it most.”
Other measures under consideration include a windfall tax on fossil fuel companies and steps to cut energy use to avoid blackouts this winter.
However, the bloc has stepped back from an initial plan to cap Russian gas prices amid division among member states over whether such a move would help or harm efforts to secure energy supplies.
Ms von der Leyen also said the EU was working to establish a “more representative benchmark” for gas and was exploring a wider overhaul of the electricity market to decouple power prices from the soaring cost of gas.
Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, raised the spectre of unrest in Europe if it proves to be a particularly “harsh” winter.
“There is certainly fear of recession in some countries, or even if it is not recession, that it would feel like recession this winter,” she said.
“If Mother Nature decides not to cooperate, and the winter is actually harsh, that could lead to some social unrest.”