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The EU summit agrees on joint gas purchases. Negotiations continue

Presidents and Prime Ministers of the European Union meet for more than eight hours in Brussels to find common ways to limit the rise in energy prices and its impact on citizens.

According to European Commission President , the EU summit agreed on the possibility of joint gas purchases. Leaders also backed mandatory filling of gas storage tanks before winter.

“We want to address the social impact of electricity and gas prices,” EU summit chief Charles Michel said as he arrived at the meeting. Energy prices rose sharply last year in the wake of the recovery from the coronavirus crisis and gas supply shortages. Now Europe fears new price rises because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The EU to jointly purchase gas

The possibility of jointly purchasing gas should also apply to Ukraine or the Western Balkan countries, whose energy situation is set to improve. The idea is make the price of imported gas cheaper.

Most countries, on the other hand, reject the proposal to cap electricity prices, which is being promoted mainly by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. According to the source, the proposals of some Western European and Scandinavian countries that the EU should speed up the transition to green energy sources in order to reduce prices and increase energy security have also proved to be impenetrable.

According to Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, in an optimal case a set of common measures would be created, from which individual states could choose what is advantageous for them. “I do not believe in regulating the market and in forcing everyone to do so, that would not be beneficial in the long term,” Fiala said.

The diplomats do not rule out that the discussion may continue for a long time. They also did not rule out that the summit will end without common conclusions on energy. A previous summit on energy price hikes in December also turned out similarly.

EU summit to discuss price regulation

Regarding a possible cap on electricity prices, the Commission writes that all options from compensation payments for end consumers or wholesalers to setting producer prices also have negative consequences. These ranged from a burden on households to distortion of competition to deterring investors. The issue is to be discussed further at the EU summit.

“It is good that the Commission resists the demands for price caps for gas and state energy purchases and clearly states their risks,” said CDU MEP Markus Pieper. “In the short term, it remains most promising to reduce the partly massive tax and duty burden on energy. This applies in particular also to Germany.” The reduction of the mineral oil tax and the value added tax on energy are overdue, he said.

The Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) is also calling for a rapid reduction in taxes and levies. “Almost all industries are affected by the dramatic price increases for electricity, gas and fuels. As a result, many German companies need low-interest KfW loans or even emergency payments in the short term,” said DIHK President Peter Adrian. “The situation is also dramatic in logistics and for mobility service providers.”

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