Agreed maximum price for natural gas in EU news. Last Minute GERMANY, Austria, Belgium, France, Netherlands, Russia, Greece headlines and events
EU energy ministers have agreed to limit gas prices. The application came from the Czech Republic, which holds the EU presidency.
The deal came after weeks of talks over an emergency measure that has caused divisions in the bloc trying to contain the energy crisis.
Last month, the European Commission proposed a “safe price ceiling” that would come into effect if natural gas exceeded 275 euros per MWh for two weeks and was 58 euros higher than the price of liquefied natural gas on world markets.
The Czech Presidency has prepared a new proposal, which provides that the mechanism will be activated if prices exceed 180 euros per MWh for three days.
According to the proposal, seen and accepted by the Reuters news agency, the price cap addendum will come into effect from February 15.
Previously, EU energy ministers failed to overcome their differences at five so-called emergency meetings.
EU leaders, on the other hand, urged ministers last week to approve a maximum price bid that had not been agreed upon for months.
“We have identified a political framework that will allow our ministers to finally decide on a gas price ceiling,” French President Emmanuel Macron said after a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels last week.
The 27 countries have gone unilateral on nine rounds of sanctions against Russia over the war in Ukraine and energy conservation measures to avoid shortages of fuel used to generate electricity, heat homes and run factories.
So far, however, they have failed to agree on a price ceiling promised in October as a way to reduce electricity bills that have risen due to the Russian invasion.
Germany supported the deal.
Germany, Europe’s largest economy and gas market, as well as other countries skeptical of the price ceiling, did not support the latest compromise. However, in today’s vote, he voted in favor of the Czech proposal.
“No one in Germany is against low gas prices, but we know that we must be very careful not to wish good and not to do evil,” German Economics Minister Robert Habeck said ahead of the meeting today.
Habek said that if the EU accepts a price ceiling without German support, they “will have to put up with it.”
Countries that have supported price ceilings have already received enough support to approve implementation. Acceptance of the proposal required the support of a majority of 15 countries representing at least 65 percent of the EU’s population.
About 10 countries, including Belgium, Poland and Greece, have joined forces to combat high gas prices of 200 euros per megawatt hour, which has led to higher electricity bills for citizens and caused record high inflation this year after Russia has cut off most of its gas supplies to Europe. He demanded a lower limit.
Belgian Energy Minister Tinne Van der Straeten said: “This is about our energy future. It’s about energy security. It is about how we can ensure affordable prices and how to avoid deindustrialization.”
The gas cap has been a contentious issue due to concerns that the world’s suppliers will bypass Europe if other countries offer more money.
Germany, the Netherlands and Austria feared the restriction would confuse European energy markets and divert much-needed gas flowing in and out of the EU.
These countries demanded more stringent conditions, such as automatic suspension of price ceilings in case of unforeseen negative consequences.
The fate of other EU energy policies also depends on the price ceiling. Countries have twice delayed approval of permits for faster renewables until an agreement on a price cap can be reached.
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