A report by the Jacques Delors Institute, which was published this week, has found that approximately 30 million European citizens weren’t able to properly heat their homes in 2019.
The authors found problems across all European countries. But, some countries had a higher proportion of the population facing difficulties. In Southern European nations like Greece, Portugal, and Cyprus, for example, buildings are less likely to be insulated for cold weather.
In addition to this, many people in warmer countries are facing energy poverty in the summer months, as they are unable to sufficiently cool their homes, especially during heatwaves.
This has highlighted the need for greater awareness and for EU countries and the European Commission to take action to prioritize energy poverty and help those struggling to pay for energy.
In the pandemic, this is more important than ever. As economic problems have meant more people struggling financially and people have to spend more time at home, it’s essential that energy poverty is considered by the EU when it’s allocating its Covid-19 recovery funds.
The pandemic has worsened the problem
Although energy poverty has been a concern for many years, during the pandemic, more people have been forced into poverty due to job losses, pay cuts, and a lack of government support.
Additionally, a huge number of people have been stuck at home for long periods. Many of them live in buildings with low energy performance. This means that they are often not able to meet the costs of heating or cooling a household all day.
Worryingly, this is a problem that disproportionally affects those of low incomes and those living in social housing, as well as the elderly, students, and self-employed people.
One answer to this could be a faster renovation of these buildings. The Commission launched a renovation project last year to improve energy performance in these buildings, but it’s predicted that more money will be needed to improve housing conditions.
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