Poland accused Germany of being “selfish” in response to a winter energy shortfall spurred on by Russia’s conflict in Ukraine. On Friday, disputes between European Union leaders over national rescue plans and controlling gas prices reappeared.
Most EU states have asked Brussels to establish a limit on gas prices, even if they disagree on the specifics. While some capitals advocate for a rigorous restriction on all gas import and trade agreements, others suggest a more stringent cap that applies to the power sector. The cap is just one of several suggestions and measures made by European countries to address the dramatic increase in prices and the fall in Russian gas supply, which had previously met 40% of Europe’s demands.
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Despite a fall from this year’s highs, they are still significantly bigger than they were at the beginning of September 2021. Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands opposed the cap because they thought it would make it more difficult for their economies to buy the gas they needed and lower the incentive to reduce consumption. Arriving at Prague Castle for an EU summit, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said that any price caps must be set and implemented for the benefit of electricity suppliers.
He added that the debates are still ongoing. They will be fierce because we intend to assist energy suppliers in addressing it, preventing gas supply drops.
While Krisjanis Karins, the prime minister of Latvia, said a ceiling would be “wonderful” as long as the bloc could still ensure supply from producers, Petr Fiala, the prime minister of the Czech Republic, specifically mentioned limiting gas prices for power generation. Xavier Bettel, the prime minister of Luxembourg, cautioned the EU, stating that maybe they would have a price limit but no energy” if it were to drive vendors away with an unpalatable cap.
The summit’s chairman, Charles Michel, also the EC president, stated that there would be no decisions on Friday but expressed hope that the leaders’ discussion will result in an agreement when they meet again on October 20-21.