As the Czech minister explained, there are two common goals. The first is to reduce the price of natural gas, and the second is to not allow high gas prices to affect electricity prices
Without agreement on the idea of imposing a general cap on the price of natural gas, but with initiatives in the near future to bridge the differences, the EU’s emergency Council of Energy Ministers concluded today in Brussels.
The Greek Minister of Environment and Energy, Kostas Skrekas, told APE-MPE that within the coming week, the Energy Ministers of Greece, Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Poland and Spain have agreed to hold a teleconference, in order to submit a joint proposal to the Commission for a general ceiling on the price of natural gas.
Along the same lines, the Czech Minister of Energy and President of the Council, Jozef Sikelá, stated during a press conference that although “there are technical differences” between the fifteen countries that want the general ceiling on the wholesale price of natural gas, but it was agreed to set up a group of experts to evaluate the possible options.
As the Czech minister explained, there are two common goals. The first is to reduce the price of natural gas, without giving an incentive to increase consumption, and the second is to not allow high gas prices to affect electricity prices. “We must live up to the expectations of European citizens and act now – very quickly,” said the Czech minister, assuring that the Czech EU Presidency will convene as many emergency Councils as necessary to find a solution.
For her part, Energy Commissioner Kadri Simpson stressed that a general ceiling on the price of natural gas “would jeopardize the security of energy supply in the EU” and noted that in any case, such a measure should be combined with which reduce the demand for natural gas. Asked whether the Commission would include a proposal for a general cap on the price of natural gas when it presents the action plan on October 4, Ms Simpson said only that “the cap on the wholesale price of natural gas is a legal option, but it requires a radical intervention in the market”. This means, Simpson explained, that several non-negotiable conditions must be met for the price cap to work. “We have agreed with the member states that they will provide further data,” he said, adding that for its part, the Commission has expressed its readiness to put a temporary cap on the price of natural gas used to generate electricity – a measure which will also have a direct impact on increasing electricity prices, in the view of the Commission.
Country Simpson also stressed that the Commission believes there is a need to impose a cap on Russian natural gas via pipelines and LNG, however, she said, “there is not the necessary consensus among member countries” to do so, as many countries consider that it is a measure that falls under the sanctions against Russia.
Furthermore, Ms Simpson stressed that there is a broad consensus among member states to negotiate lower prices with “reliable” suppliers and the Commission will proceed with these negotiations.
The Energy Commissioner predicted, however, that it will not be an easy winter for Europe and that the next winter will be even more difficult.
Finally, the President of the Council, G. Sikela expressed his satisfaction with the political agreement on measures to mitigate high electricity prices, which include the mandatory reduction of electricity demand, a ceiling on the income of those who produce electricity energy with other technologies and solidarity contribution from fossil fuel producers.
“We are in an energy war with Russia, this war is affecting our industry. Further coordinated action is needed at the European level,” the Czech minister concluded.
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