(Bloomberg) — French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire will work with his German counterpart Christian Lindner to align aid to companies struggling with high power prices, while coordinating a response to US energy policies.
France was among the first countries to implement a so-called “tariff shield,” spending billions to shield consumers and companies from surge energy prices.
“We won’t wage war between ourselves in Europe,” Le Maire said on France Inter on Saturday. “The real topic is energy prices in the US especially — in Asia, too. The US are acting as a bloc, Europe must act as a bloc.”
Le Maire will meet Lindner in Paris on Monday, days before an official state visit to Washington by Emmanuel Macron, who has criticized President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act. The US legislation has triggered concerns in Europe over the impact of billionscent of dollars in renewable energy companies.
Read: Macron Says US Climate Legislation Is ‘Not Friendly’
Le Maire also said he was “fighting” to keep the so-called Arenh system, which forces Electricite de France SA to sell electricity at a low price to its rivals. The French government recently said it will reduce the amount of electricity sold under this mechanism to 20 terawatt-hours next year. The system has to be approved every year by the European Commission.
France to Reduce Amount of Power EDF Sells at Discount Next Year
On Saturday, Le Maire said half of French companies are benefitting from lower electricity prices thanks to Arenh. The system was created in 2010 to comply with the bloc’s competition rules, allowing rival power suppliers in France to buy a certain amount of nuclear power a from EDF at a set price.
French businesses “will be protected as well as German companies,” Le Maire said. Before a meeting of EU energy ministers next week, he urged Europe to do more to agree on new mechanisms to lower energy prices.