Espreso. Global

EU energy ministers fail to agree on gas price cap "due to deep differences"

25 November, 2022 Friday
09:01

On Thursday, November 24, EU energy ministers failed to agree on gas price caps to ease Europe's energy crunch amid disagreements over the initial proposal

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AFP reported the information.

The ministers will now meet in the first part of December to try to resolve disputes, according to Czech Industry Minister Jozef Sikela, whose state now holds the EU chair.

Prior to the meeting on Thursday, a number of ministers expressed dissatisfaction with the gas price cap plan that had been put up and that the European Commission had announced just two days earlier, saying it was clearly designed to never be implemented.

According to AFP, the Polish and Spanish energy ministers called the proposal a "joke", and Greek Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas said the cap "is not actually a ceiling" on gas prices, and "we are losing valuable time without results”.

Under criticism from countries like Germany and the Netherlands, who believed a ceiling may redirect gas supply to more profitable markets, mainly Asia, the commission's proposed price cap was seen as being neutered. However, more than half of the EU, or at least 15 nations, want some sort of workable cap on wholesale gas prices to address a supply shortage brought on by Russia's war in Ukraine.

AFP writes that, while Russian gas has not been outlawed by the European Union, Moscow has been cutting off supplies in response to the restrictions put in place by Brussels after Moscow's invasion. Prior to the war, Russia supplied more than 40% of all imported gas into the European Union, with export powerhouse Germany in particular need. The percentage has now decreased to less than 10%.

Alternative supplies, like LNG supplied from the United States and the Gulf, cannot cover the difference, causing winter heating bills in Europe to skyrocket.

AFP reported that EU energy commissioner Kadri Simson recognized the disagreements over the price restriction as she arrived at the conference.

She said that the ministers have the "right to calibrate the different parameters" if they so like, which might happen in time for their next meeting, expected to be held on December 13.

If approved, the price cap scheme would go into effect in January. It would operate along a voluntary campaign for EU member states to reduce natural gas use by 15% during the northern hemisphere winter.



 
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