(Bloomberg) -- The next “5 to 10 winters will be difficult,” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo warned on Monday as energy prices in Europe soared to new records.

“The development of the situation is very difficult throughout Europe,” De Croo told reporters. “Some sectors are facing serious difficulties with these high energy prices.”

His comments come as European natural gas prices surged to about 15 times the average summer time price and electricity spiked over the threat of further Russian supply cuts. 

The single biggest risk of the ongoing fallout from the war in Ukraine is the possibility that European solidarity could break down, one Belgian official said, adding such an outcome could undermine energy markets and damage efforts to reach climate neutrality by 2050. 

Benchmark gas futures rose as much as 21%, while German power surged to above 700 euros ($698.21) a megawatt-hour for the first time as the key Nord Stream gas pipeline is set to stop for three days of maintenance on Aug. 31, again raising concerns that the link won’t return to service as planned. 

De Croo said that Belgium can endure the crisis “if we support each other in these difficult times.”

Read more: German Power Hits Record 700 Euros as Gas Fears Ratchet Higher

(Updates with confirmation of remarks, context starting in second paragraph)

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