EU: This Winter Will be Hard, Next One Will Be Even Worse
Story Code : 1017091
“Ministers were concerned, as am I, that this will not be an easy winter for us, and the next winter will be even more difficult,” said Simson during a press conference after an extraordinary meeting of EU energy ministers.
The meeting was meant to address the skyrocketing gas prices in Europe and to develop a package of emergency measures aimed at assisting European households and businesses amid the crisis.
The agreed-upon steps include placing a cap on energy company revenues and distributing excess profits back to consumers. The plan also prescribes mandatory energy savings, requiring EU members to cut energy demand during peak hours by 5% and suggesting a 10% reduction in overall electricity use.
The ministers failed, however, to agree on a price cap on wholesale natural gas, which was one of the key demands issued to the European Commission by a group of 15 EU member states ahead of the meeting. In a joint letter, the group argued that a price cap was the one measure that could help the bloc “mitigate the inflationary pressure, manage expectations and provide a framework in case of potential supply disruptions.”
While the European Commission has not completely ruled out the possibility of a price cap on natural gas, it has warned that such a move would weaken the bloc’s ability to secure gas supplies in the global market. The issue will reportedly be discussed at a later date, according to Lithuanian Energy Minister Dainius Kreivys.