On Thursday, the EU’s 27 member states will gather for the second time in two weeks to discuss efforts to reduce energy costs. However, the EU’s ability to cap gas prices seems questionable due to ongoing tensions within the EU.
After deciding to fill gas storage and seize money from energy companies to use for aiding consumers with exorbitant bills, the 27 should support portions of a package of EU energy proposals made this week. However, they are unable to agree on whether and how to control gas prices to fight hyperinflation and avoid recession after Russia cut off gas supplies due to its invasion of Ukraine. Discussions on this topic could go on for hours.
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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte stated that as he came for a pre-summit discussion, he feared we might be in for a long night.
Fifteen nations, including France and Poland, are pressing for some cap. However, Germany, and the Netherlands, the largest of Europe’s economy and top gas consumers, respectively, are against it, warning that restriction of gas prices may jeopardize supply stability. According to a copy of the summit’s conclusions, Brussels will have to suggest a restriction on the price of gas used to produce power, a concept favored by France and already used by Spain and Portugal. But according to the letter, Germany demanded the deletion of any references to price ceilings from the text.
The acute energy shortage will affect the 450 million people living in those countries. Thus the leaders will also talk about emergency investment to counteract such consequences. Some countries ask the EU to issue new joint debt to pay for it, while more frugal member states say hundreds of billions of euros left over from previous plans should be used first.
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