Not without a gas price cap: States block emergency measures | free press

For months, the EU has been struggling to find measures to counter high energy prices. In Brussels, the supporters of a European gas price cap prevail – and block other laws.

Brussels.

Because of the unresolved dispute over a European gas price cap, the EU energy ministers were initially unable to adopt any further emergency measures in the energy crisis. Italy and Spain, among others, blocked the decision on joint gas purchases and faster approvals for solar systems, for example, at a meeting in Brussels on Thursday. Several countries insisted that these two projects can only be passed together with the gas price cap.

“The decision will be taken jointly in all areas, including the area where there is currently no agreement,” Italian Environment Minister Gilberto Pichetto Fratin said after the meeting. Ecological Transition Minister Teresa Ribera also insisted on “connections” between the proposals. The talks are expected to continue at another special meeting on December 13th.

Champagne already chilled

The participants nevertheless tried to sell the meeting as a success. “Today we agreed on the principles of a renewables booster and on more energy solidarity in Europe,” said State Secretary Sven Giegold with a view to the legislative initiatives on gas purchases and renewable energies. “We’re not opening the champagne yet, but we’re putting the bottle in the fridge,” joked Czech Industry Minister Jozef Sikela, who chaired the talks. There is only a need for negotiation on the gas price cap.

However, this should be huge. “The discussion was very heated and, as you all know, there are very different views on the level of the price cap proposed by the Commission,” said Sikela. If no agreement can be reached by December 13, the next meeting is scheduled to take place a week later.

For months, the EU countries have been arguing about measures to control the gas price, which has fluctuated sharply in the wake of the Ukraine war. Under pressure from a large number of countries, the EU Commission has proposed capping the price of gas sold on the TTF trading platform. Specifically, it is about a price limit of 275 euros per megawatt hour, which would only be triggered under certain conditions. That would affect major customers who trade there – not end consumers, as is the case with the federal government’s gas price brake.

Only a joke?

More than half of EU countries are in favor of a cap at EU level. However, countries such as Italy, France, Belgium, Malta, Spain and Poland do not find the Commission’s proposal sufficient. “For us, this is a joke after so many weeks of discussions and proposals,” said Polish Environment Minister Anna Moskwa. Spanish Minister Ribera said the proposal was not what EU states had asked for. “It seems to have been designed to guarantee that it will never be used.”

Germany is fundamentally critical of a fixed cap. “For us it is important that the markets do not get confused, but that we instead tackle the causes of the high prices,” said Giegold. This is due to the dependency on Russian gas, the shortage of gas and high consumption. It must also be prevented that a price limit ultimately leads to a shortage of supply. Dutch Energy Minister Rob Jetten made a similar statement. “There is a high risk that the security of energy supply and also the stability of the financial market will be affected.” (dpa)

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