A meeting of EU countries in Prague on Wednesday, Oct. 12 left the status of a gas price cap in a new package of proposals to tame soaring energy prices unresolved, but will include steps to start joint gas purchases.
The 27-member EU is plotting its next move to shield consumers from surging bills, as Europe heads into a winter of scarce Russian gas, a cost of living crisis and the looming threat of recession.
EU energy commissioner Kadri Simson said it was still unclear if there was enough support among countries for a price cap on gas used for power generation to be added to the October 18 package — a move many countries have sought.
Czech Industry Minister Jozef Sikela said ministers had agreed joint gas buying should launch by next summer, and the Commission had been asked to “speed up” the process ahead of winter 2023.
With gas prices almost 90 percent higher than a year ago, most EU countries say they want a gas price cap, but have struggled to agree on its design — be it a price cap on all gas, pipeline gas, or just gas used to produce electricity.
The meeting outcome aligned with many of the measures suggested in a proposal by Germany and the Netherlands – who warn broad gas price caps could leave Europe struggling to attract supplies – while swerving the cap that 15 other EU states have urged Brussels to propose.
By Reuters. (Production: Lewis Macdonald)