Live energy robbery. Krétínský’s record profits must be taxed

It is necessary to act on the unjustly acquired profits of fossil corporations. What’s more, it will be necessary to make efforts within the framework of democratic rules to ensure that gigantic concerns like EPH cannot exist at all. Photo by Matěj Moravanský, DR

“We will all get a little poorer,” Prime Minister Petr Fiala said a year ago in April. Although we should all be equal in losing weight, it turns out that some are more equal. Fossil corporations and banks around the world report profits in excess of tens of billions. Daniel Křetínský’s company EPH presented record earnings on Thursday. It is clear that we did not experience an energy crisis last year, but a literal energy robbery.

According to the company’s economic results, the operating profit of EPH last year climbed to an astronomical one hundred and one billion crowns. Compared to 2021, it almost doubled. How did Daniel Křetínský’s company get this money? All of us, citizens of the European Union, paid them when we paid high prices for electricity and heat all last year.

Let us remind you that Daniel Křetínský built his company mainly on the import of gas from Russia. Ukrainian authorities identified his company, Metro AG, as a sponsor of the Russian invasion. At the same time, it is one of the largest coal and gas companies, so it is significantly contributing to the deepening of the climate crisis. It is such a sky-high injustice of the current system that this very company is posting record profits thanks to a crisis it helped create.

Practically all fossil corporations recorded similarly high profits last year, from Shell, through BP to Total Energies. Even the ranking of the richest people on the planet, published by Forbes, proves that last year belonged to fossil capital. Tykač and Křetínský are the two biggest coal barons here they doubled their fortunes.

In contrast, already in 2021, we lived in energy poverty over nine hundred thousand people, according to Eurostat, then thirty-six million throughout the European Union. However, these numbers are sure to have deepened after energy prices started to rise in a big way at the end of 2021. The enormous profits of EPH and the simultaneous growth of energy poverty ultimately prove that we did not experience an energy crisis last year, but a great energy robbery.

Sort of like a redistribution inside out, where money went in bulk from the poorer part of society to the rich few. Fossil corporations, as well as oligarchs Křetínský or Tykač, did not deserve these profits in any way. In short, they just took advantage of the situation they brought us into at the same time by blocking the development of clean energy and energy saving measures for years.

In a normally functioning democracy, where politics would not be permeated by the power of large economic concerns, governments would logically proceed with massive taxation of these undeserved profits and use the obtained funds to solve social problems. Fial’s government wants to take pensioners, students and civil servants instead. And elsewhere in Europe it looks similar.

After all, practically at the same time that EPH announced its record profits, the government presented new austerity measures at a press conference. As if the missing money in the state budget and the record profits of energy corporations were not related in any way. But they are related.

The government already failed last year when it pushed for the introduction of an extraordinary war tax (windfall tax) starting this year. Most of the money from energy concerns escapes us and the rest goes to tax havens in Cyprus or Luxembourg, where Tykač and Křetínský like to pay taxes. We will not see extraordinary retroactive taxation from the current, and probably not even from the next government.

If we are ever to achieve a polluter-pays social-ecological transformation, it will be necessary to address the ill-gotten gains of fossil fuel corporations. What’s more, it will be necessary to make efforts within the framework of democratic rules to ensure that gigantic concerns such as EPH cannot exist at all. That is also why it is necessary to remember that in 2022 we were all literally robbed of fossil capital.

Source: Deník referendum by

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