The leaders of the European Union are convening on Thursday and Friday in Brussels for another two-day summit, with the meeting focused on the impact of the war in Ukraine on the energy market across the Union.
A recent proposal of the European Commission that foresees the possibility of limiting the prices of wholesale gas sales only as a last resort did not detail how capping gas prices could work. Most countries demand such a measure, while some, including Germany and the Netherlands, remain skeptical.
The 27 would express their support for an alternative reference price for liquefied natural gas and joint purchases of gas, after previously agreeing to reduce consumption and introduce taxes on the exceptional profits of companies in the energy industry.Even though 15 member states, including France and Poland, are still calling for some form of cap, they are facing stiff opposition from Germany and the Netherlands, Europe’s biggest economy and biggest gas buyer. , respectively the most important gas trading hub in Europe.
“An agreement is extremely unlikely…Opinions seem to be very opposite,” an EU diplomat said ahead of Thursday’s talks.
The 27 would express their support for an alternative reference price for liquefied natural gas and joint purchases of gas, after previously agreeing to reduce consumption and introduce taxes on the exceptional profits of companies in the energy industry.
Apart from energy prices, EU leaders are also expected to discuss support for Ukraine following Russian missile and drone attacks that have resulted in casualties this week.
Also attending the European Council summit, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said that Romania agrees with the EC proposals.
“We have had the proposal from the European Commission on the table since yesterday, it is a good proposal, which also includes elements that we had requested repeatedly. It is a quite technical document. We are talking here about a kind of capping of the gas price, but a ceiling that does not put suppliers in difficulty, only prevents the appearance of excessively high prices. At the same time, we have the beginning of a regulation that decouples the gas market from the electricity market. We have a proposal concerning joint purchases, a voluntary joint purchase platform for gas. We have a number of elements that can support member states to better deal with the energy crisis,” Iohannis said before the summit.
He also opined that subsidies cannot be an endless solution in the future.
“We cannot come endlessly with subsidies, with extraordinary measures. We must find solutions to have sufficient energy available and prices that the population and industry can pay. This means diversification, this means green energy, this means new resources, for example the gas from the Black Sea, and this means a much, much better interconnection between the member states than the one we have now,” the Romanian president argued.