Greece’s Environment & Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas has proposed that the European Commission set up an 80-billion-euro fund to deal with the fallout from high natural gas prices. The impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has led to significant inflation on all basic food and other items in Greece and Greeks are worried that with winter coming heating costs will skyrocket.

Skrekas’ proposal, ahead of the Ministers of Energy Emergency Council on Friday, was in a letter to Executive Vice-President of the European Commission for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans and Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson, Greek masthead Kathimerini reported.

The minister said the fund would be supported by a special fee of 10 euros per thermal MWh that should be imposed on European power producers for natural gas used to produce electricity. The funds would then go to support vulnerable households as well as small and medium-sized enterprises, alternative fuel investments, and to cover emergency needs of producers who are trying to replace Russian natural gas.

The fee according to Skrekas’ proposal would generate 9 billion euros annually, based on 2021 consumption figures. A low-interest-rate loan of 80 billion euros by the European Investment Bank to start with could be gradually paid off by the annual 9 billion euros, according to the proposal.