Brussels, December 19 – After months of wrangling over a gas price cap, the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU expects an agreement on Monday. “I don’t see why we shouldn’t agree today,” Czech Energy Minister Jozef Sikela said at the start of the meeting with his counterparts in Brussels. “Nothing will stop us from doing it.” He stressed that the heads of state and government had also called for an agreement on Thursday. Regarding Germany, Sikela clarified that states could also be overthrown if necessary. The Federal Government is skeptical about the cap when buying gas: “I think our concerns are justified,” said Economy Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) and slowed down. “We know from previous market interventions that we have to be very careful not to want the good and trigger the bad.”
The Czech Republic previously submitted a new compromise proposal: the cap should then apply if the gas price is above 188 euros per megawatt hour for three days and also 35 euros above the world market price for liquefied natural gas (LNG). After the mechanism is in place, the price must still be 35 euros higher than the world market price of LNG, but not lower than 188 euros. However, in the event of a gas shortage in the EU or in a member state, the lid will be lifted, according to the newspaper, which the Reuters news agency was able to consult.
Germany, the Netherlands and Austria fear that liquid gas could no longer arrive in Europe if there was a cap. In the event of a shortage, distribution struggles would break out between states, which would test the EU. Chancellor Olaf Scholz had said the price of the lid was to be so high that it would never take effect. Other states want the lowest price possible.
188 euros would be significantly less than what the European Commission had proposed in the past and what Germany had rejected. The price of gas is currently well below 188 euros, but the cap would have come into force in the summer, when the market price was temporarily raised to 350 euros. Experts believe it is possible that after a harsh winter it will rise to more than 200 euros when states have to fill their stores in the spring.
Habeck stressed that the price alone is not decisive. It depends on how it is integrated. He sees it with a critical eye if there is no unanimous decision. Although this is possible, this should not be the EU’s objective in the energy crisis. We must act in a consensual way.
A so-called qualified majority decision would be possible. Then 15 of the 27 states are expected to vote for him, representing at least 65% of the population.
EU presidency now sees gas price cap as doable – warns Habeck
Symbolic photo: Image by Michael Bußmann on Pixabay
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