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BERLIN/BRUSSELS: Germany said on Tuesday it would step up lending to energy firms at risk of being crushed by soaring gas prices, as the European Union readied proposals to help households and industry cope with an energy crisis sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The European Commission is due to announce on Wednesday proposals including targets to cut electricity consumption and a revenue cap for non-gas fuelled plants. EU energy ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Sept. 30 to try and agree on them.

Separately, the EU’s securities watchdog is also considering measures to help energy firms struggling to meet rocketing collateral demands after they were caught out by the surging prices as Russia cut gas supplies to Europe.

The crisis is already weighing heavily on Europe’s economy, even before the onset of winter when industrial users could face rationing if gas reserves prove inadequate. Industry sentiment in the bloc’s economic powerhouse, Germany, has tumbled.

“Of course we knew, and we know, that our solidarity with Ukraine will have consequences,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Tuesday, urging Germans to brace for a tough winter and rise to the challenge of a shift in energy supply away from Russian gas. “Let us tackle the task together!” Scholz said.

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