European Commission Still Sees Room for Gas Price Ceiling
The European Commission still wants to talk about a limit on the gas price. The committee did not see a price ceiling for a long time, but “the situation has fundamentally changed”, says chairman Ursula von der Leyen.
According to her, support for such a measure to dampen the sky-high energy prices has grown, and some objections have become less important.
Southern EU countries have been pushing for a maximum price for gas for some time, under pressure from citizens and companies that can no longer pay their bills. The proponents are now in the majority. But the committee and member states such as the Netherlands and Germany do not want to intervene so rigorously in the energy market. They fear, among other things, that suppliers will exchange Europe for better-paying customers.
“We are ready to discuss a cap on the price of gas used to generate electricity,” von der Leyen told the European Parliament, as Spain and Portugal have previously introduced. “But we also need to look at gas prices outside the electricity market.” She seemed to refer to a general price cap as a “temporary solution” as long as the gas price is still excessively determined by the pipeline gas from Russia.
A price ceiling can jeopardize the supply of gas, von der Leyen recalled. But the support is greater, and “we are now better prepared”. She reported that the EU’s gas storage reservoirs are now 90 percent full.
EU leaders will meet in Prague on Friday for a summit likely to focus on the energy crisis.