The French President has been accused of trying to impose rationing on his citizens after he called for for “energy sobriety” and asked people to cut down on what they are using. He said: “We have seen this for several months. Our country was first subjected to a rise in energy prices, which is largely driven by a resumption of very intense Moscow activity, a situation which was then aggravated by Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“And this is in view of what Russia represents on the fossil fuel market, both for gas and oil. At the beginning of 2022, I would like to remind you of the situation, 25 percent of all European energy was gas, and 50 percent of this gas came from Russia. That is the situation.
“Everyone has a role to play. The best energy is the one we do not consume.”
He urged people to “save 10 percent of what we currently consume” and said it was necessary for people to turn down the air conditioning when it is hot and, this winter, to “settle on a heating reference of around 19C”.
The French President said this would mean the “country will be able to achieve its sobriety objectives and thus avoid going towards something more coercive, such as rationing this winter”.
But furious critics hit back on Twitter, with some accusing Mr Macron of “rationing” the French.
Deputy of Haut Rhin Raphael Schellenberger mocked Mr Macron, saying: “From now on, the President of the Republic takes care of everything: even the temperature inside your home.”
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While others suggested Mr Macron was making the people pay for the failures of the president’s government.
National Rally MP for Gard Nicolas Meizonet posted: “So the French have to pay for the inconsistencies of its leaders?
“We were waiting for excuses, instead we got threats!”
MEP Helene Laporte tweeted: “So it’s still up to the French to make additional efforts because of Emmanuel Macron’s bad choices in energy policy?”
And MEP Jordan Bardella added: “They will never question their disastrous energy policy choices.
“They will never plead guilty to the economic crime they have committed. They are the ones responsible for this chaos!”
It comes as Europe battles its biggest energy crisis so far as countries scramble to protect households and businesses from soaring bills and shore up struggling suppliers.
European governments are pushing through multibillion-euro packages to prevent utilities from collapsing and protect households amid soaring energy costs triggered mainly by the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Benchmark European gas prices have surged about 340 percent in a year, and jumped as much as 35 percent on Monday after Russia’s state-controlled Gazprom said it would indefinitely extend a shutdown to the major Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline.
Europe has accused Russia of weaponising energy supplies in retaliation for Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine. Russia blames those sanctions for causing the gas supply problems, which it puts down to pipeline faults.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega