Four-fifths of Europeans hold Brussels responsible for the ongoing energy crisis

According to a Jan-Feb 2022 poll by the Századvég Europe Project, 75 percent of adults who responded blamed Brussels’ policy for the energy crisis; by December, this figure had risen to 79 percent.

A growing number of Europeans think that the European Commission's botched energy policy is a contributing factor in the current energy crisis.

This is not surprising, as following the first major energy price hike in autumn 2021, many experts had already suggested that the structural problems in the European energy market stemmed to a large extent from the ideology-driven policies enacted by Brussels.

At the time, European Commission representatives argued that the criticisms were unsubstantiated, as price hikes were only temporary and that efforts to radically transform the energy sector needed to be ramped up.

After the eruption of the war in Ukraine, Brussels has focused its energy policy on sanctioning Russian energy carriers, which, while maintaining its previous ambitions, has further constrained Europe's energy market.

In continuation of its pre-war Europe Project survey, conducted between January 3 and February 14, 2022, Századvég again asked the European adult population if it “rather agrees” or “rather disagrees” with the statement, “The energy crisis in Europe is partly the result of the European Commission’s misguided energy policy.” This second poll was conducted between October 13 and December 7, 2022.

The results of the pre-war survey had already clearly shown that people did not agree with the European Commission's argument that its previous energy policy efforts needed to be boosted. In the earlier 2022 survey, three-quarters of respondents blamed Commission policy for the energy crisis.

And since the imposition of sanctions, opposition to Brussels' energy policy has only risen.



The sanctions policy of Brussels and the ensuing price increases have solely served to exacerbate the discontent of Europeans. Just months later, nearly four in five respondents (79 percent) to the autumn 2022 survey claimed that the European Commission's misguided energy policy was partially to blame at the bare minimum.

Greeks, Croats, and Germans seem to be the least divided regarding the question, with 86 percent, 86 percent, and 85 percent of respondents in these countries, respectively, blaming Brussels' efforts for the energy crisis; all three countries also saw an increase in those agreeing with the statement over the previous poll.

The case of Germany is particularly intriguing because the foundations of the pre-war energy policy of the European Commission were largely based on German initiatives.

The matter of Brussels' responsibility is most divisive among respondents in Denmark, with 60 percent agreeing and 40 percent disagreeing; Hungary (65-35); and the Netherlands (67-33), with the proportion of those who agree increasing slightly in Denmark and Hungary but decreasing in the Netherlands.



While the results for Denmark and the Netherlands can be explained by higher social support for sanctions, Hungary’s relatively lower rate stems from government initiatives that have successfully shielded and protected the population from the harmful effects of sanctions.

It is clear that a growing majority of European citizens recognize Brussels' responsibility for the evolving hardships in all member states.

And this is the reason why we in the Hungarian government are advocating reevaluating the EC’s energy policy and putting an end to the devastating spiral caused by sanctions, which ordinary citizens are being forced to bear.