France to Give Families 580 Million Euros to Pay Energy Bills

France will hand out about 580 million euros ($685 million) to help poor households cope with soaring energy bills.

Prime Minister Jean Castex will make the announcement Thursday. An aide, in a briefing to journalists, gave details: A special subsidy of 100 euros will be granted in December to 5.8 million households that already get an annual voucher of 150 euros toward their energy costs.

The special relief comes as gas prices in Europe continued their record-breaking run. With winter fast approaching, governments are being forced to intervene and offer relief to pandemic-hit consumers still struggling to get on their feet. The political need to step in is acute in France, with President Emmanuel Macron campaigning for re-election next April. 

The government considered expanding the list of who is eligible for financial aid, but this would have required looking into tax data that would be updated in early 2022, the aide said. It is however exploring ways to help energy-dependent companies and will earmark about 2 billion euros in the 2022 budget -- the same as this year -- to subsidize home renovations.

France to Give Families 580 Million Euros to Pay Energy Bills

As households brace for a surge in bills, Spain, Italy and Greece are also considering or enacting measures. In Romania, the government had initial talks about a temporary cap of natural-gas prices and will seek guidance from the European Commission on a potential measure to help citizens cope.

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