The European Union executive branch issued sweeping guidance on Wednesday aimed to provide the 27 EU member countries with policy suggestions to help low-income households struggling to pay record-high energy bills. 

The guidance recommends countries adopt price caps and temporary tax breaks, and provide aid to help the “vulnerable population” as they head into the winter. The recommendation, which particularly focuses on helping low-income households and small businesses, has already been adopted by many countries.

“Everywhere people ask: ‘Can I pay my next bill? How long will it last? What can be done?’ Their concern is understandable and justified,” said EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson. “Winter is coming.”

“Our answer to what should be done is twofold: First, our immediate priority is to protect Europe’s consumers, especially the most vulnerable,” she added. “Second, we have to make our energy system better prepared and more resilient so that we don’t have to face a similar situation in the future.”

The EU guidance represents the most significant collective step these countries have taken to address record-high energy prices that has been threatening the region’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, The Washington Post reported.

EU leaders are expected to further discuss energy prices, including a longer-term joint procurement program, at their summit scheduled for next week, according to the Associated Press.