The EU reaches a minimum agreement to try to lower the gas bill
The countries of the European Union reached a agreement to develop formulas that they can cheap energy, such as working to extend the “Iberian mechanism” to the entire EU, creating a voluntary system of joint gas purchases or designing a cap on the price of that hydrocarbon.
After more than eleven hours of “intense but constructive” negotiationsthe EU Heads of State and Government reached a minimum agreement which brought positions between a block of more interventionist States, with Spain, France, Belgium and Greece at the head, and another very reluctant to measures that could alter the markets and compromise the supply of gas, with Germany, the Netherlands, Hungary, Nordic and Baltics.
The Ministers of Energy of the Twenty-seven will be those who develop the “very technical” aspects of the political agreement reached by the leaders, explained at a press conference the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who assured that the EU does not have “taboos” in the energy debate.
“Our first objective is to bring down gas prices“, said Macron, who highlighted as the most important measure the consensus to create a “dynamic and temporary price corridor for natural gas transactions”, according to the text agreed by the Twenty-seven.
Yes, that gas price cap worksthe cost of energy will drop “mechanically”, Macron said about an initiative that scares several capitals, who fear that imposing these conditions will drive away liquefied natural gas ships and the EU will not be able to replace the gas that barely reaches it anymore. Russia.
“It’s like going to a bar and telling the bartender you want to pay half for the beer. It’s not going to happen. Customers cannot reduce prices of energy. Only diversification and competition can,” Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán tweeted during the summit.
Leaders have also tasked the Commission with study the extension to the rest of the Twenty-seven of the “Iberian mechanism” that is applied in Spain and Portugal and that limits the contagion of the gas shortage in the electricity market.
Again, many countries they demand a system like the peninsularbut others fear that it could increase gas consumption or that the money from European consumers used to finance the system means that non-EU countries, such as the United Kingdom, Switzerland or the Balkan countries, benefit from cheap electricity imports from the EU. .
Therefore, the leaders instructed the Commission to do a “cost-benefit analysis” before Europeanizing the system of Spain and Portugal, countries with the particularity of having a lot of renewable energy, little gas in their electricity generation and few interconnections with the rest of the EU.
The third highlight of the agreed conclusions is create a joint gas purchasing systembut it will be voluntary. It will only be mandatory that, for 15% of the gas reserves (around 3.5% of the total consumption of the EU), the companies have to present a joint purchase proposal.
“Companies will have to add their demand. The offers will arrive and the companies will be free to accept them or not”, Von der Leyen summed up. The summit began with the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, leaning against the immobility in which he has been installed for a year in energy policy and a growing distance in the Franco-German axis that functions as the backbone of the EU.
“I don’t think it’s good for Germany or for Europe to isolate itself“, Macron said upon arrival at the summit, after a joint council of ministers with Germany scheduled for next week had been canceled the day before, although once in Brussels the French president and Scholz agreed to hold the meeting, but alone .
The ambiguous conclusions in some points and limited in others with safeguards, it left varied impressions, from the positive reading of the Prime Minister of Belgium, Alexander de Croo, to the “greater ambition” that Spanish sources claimed.
The The ball now passes to the energy ministers of the Twenty-sevenwhich will hold a first meeting in Luxembourg next Tuesday to fine-tune and develop the political mandate of the leaders in a technical and complex matter where “the devil is in the details,” according to a European source.
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