Capping the price of gas: the European Union tries to agree


published on Thursday, November 24, 2022 at 2:30 p.m.

The energy ministers of the 27 countries of the European Union are meeting in Brussels on Thursday, November 24, to decide on a text dedicated to strengthening the solidarity of the European bloc in the face of soaring energy prices.

The European Union is trying to agree on the Commission’s proposals to counter soaring energy prices. During a meeting in Brussels, the 27 energy ministers of the EU are consulting on a text that will strengthen its solidarity in the face of inflation.

The EU is planning joint purchases of gas, as well as a mechanism to ensure that any country threatened with a shortage will receive gas from other member states.

It also provides for “circuit breakers” to limit the volatility of hydrocarbon prices on the markets. A second text on the table, also prepared by the Commission, aims, for a period of one year, to simplify and speed up authorizations for the installation of heat pumps and solar panels, with a view to boosting the production of “green” electricity.

Several countries outraged by the “inefficiency” of the gas price cap

The first two texts are consensus. But the Commission’s third proposal, which is to cap gas prices, has raised an outcry. Unveiled on Tuesday, November 22, this device would consist of capping the prices of monthly contracts on the TTF reference gas market for one year.

This cap would occur as soon as prices exceed 275 euros/MWh for two consecutive weeks, which has never happened, even at the height of the surge in prices last August.

Among the dissatisfied voices sounded that of the Greek Minister Konstantinos Skrekas: “At this level, it is not a ceiling! These prices threaten households and businesses, we have wasted too much time without results”, he was indignant. , considering that any agreement on solidarity and joint purchasing measures would be conditional on an effective price cap.

Agnès Pannier-Runacher invites her counterparts not to “mix everything up”

Poland and Spain have also expressed their disagreement with the Commission’s proposal: “It’s a joke! It’s -10 degrees here,” said Polish Minister Anna Moskwa. “We do not want to continue to talk about solidarity or renewables, we must discuss a cap on gas prices now,” she continued, demanding a new text from the executive “in the coming months. days”.

Spanish Minister Teresa Ribera blasted the Commission’s “unworkable and ineffective” proposal to cap prices, stressing “the great concern of a large majority of member states” about it.

Her Belgian counterpart Tinne van der Straeten stressed the importance of reaching a simultaneous agreement on all issues: “I don’t think that’s possible today,” she said.

Considering that the proposed cap is “insufficient” and “certainly not a response to the soaring prices” which threatens European industry, French Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher has however called for the other texts to be approved on Thursday. “We must not mix everything up and move forward where we can,” she pleaded.

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