Energy prices – no agreement on the gas price cap

Despite a compromise proposal from the EU Commission, the EU states are still arguing about a price limit for gas purchases. “It was a heated debate,” admitted Czech Minister Jozef Sikela, who chairs the energy ministers, after Thursday’s special conference in Brussels. However, the open discussion is the starting point for a new attempt at agreement at the next meeting on December 13th. Even before the start of the meeting, it had become clear that an agreement on a price cap was not to be expected.

However, the states initially agreed to find a new reference value for the price, which has so far been defined on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange (TTF). However, the states have finally agreed on joint gas purchasing and facilitation for the expansion of renewable energy.

Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) was disappointed that there were no decisions on joint gas purchasing or faster approval procedures for renewables.

“There’s nothing nice about it: the results of today’s meeting fall short of expectations,” Gewessler said after the meeting. Political agreements were reached on joint gas purchasing, measures to curb speculation and faster approval procedures for energy transition projects, but no resolutions. “Valuable weeks are now going by again in which nothing happens,” criticized the energy minister.

The Commission had proposed a cap on increases in wholesale gas prices. This should only take effect under strict conditions – if the price on the European gas exchange in the Netherlands (TTF) is higher than 275 euros per megawatt hour for two weeks. At the same time, the price must be at least 58 euros above a global reference price for liquid gas for ten days. The TTF price is currently around 100 euros per megawatt hour. In the summer it was briefly over 300 euros.

A group of 15 countries, led primarily by Spain and France, think the cap is too high and don’t think it can work that way. Polish Minister Anna Moskwa called this cap a “joke” even before the meeting. A second, smaller group, led by Germany, is generally critical of a lid. “In summary, one can say that everyone is somehow unhappy with the Commission’s proposal,” said the German State Secretary for Economic Affairs, Sven Giegold, at the start.

The group fears that liquefied gas will not even arrive in Europe and that gas will have to be rationed in Europe. In addition, this could then lead to distribution battles among the states if there is a gas shortage situation. “We definitely want to avoid that,” said Giegold. (Reuters, dpa, apa)

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