EU fails to reach consensus on natural gas price cap
Updated 10:24, 14-Dec-2022

European Union energy ministers meeting in Brussels on Tuesday failed to strike a final deal on a bloc-wide cap on natural gas prices, after months of debate between countries over whether the measure can ease Europe's energy crisis.

Responding to repeated requests from some countries, the European Commission proposed a gas price cap last month as the latest EU response to the energy price spikes in recent months.

But with countries still split over the details of the cap, Tuesday's meeting did not yield a final decision, leaving EU energy ministers to try again for an agreement at another meeting on December 19.

"We have made progress, but we are not done yet. Not all questions could be answered today," German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said after the meeting, which overran by hours as ministers hunted for a compromise.

Czech Industry Minister Jozef Sikela, who chaired the meeting, said he had "a good feeling" that countries could next week agree to the price level for triggering the cap, which he said was the only issue still unresolved.

"I think we are almost there, but now we need to get together and show that unity is not an empty word," he told a news conference, adding that countries had agreed other details, including that the cap would not initially apply to private gas trades outside energy exchanges.

Germany, Austria and the Netherlands have warned against a gas price cap, which they fear could divert much-needed gas cargoes away from Europe and disrupt the functioning of energy markets.

Other states, including Greece, Belgium, Italy and Poland have demanded a cap, which they say would shield their economies from high energy prices.

"European citizens are in agony, European businesses are closing and Europe has been needlessly debating," Greek Energy Minister Konstantinos Skrekas said on Tuesday ahead of the meeting.

(Cover: Prior to the start of an EU energy ministers meeting in the Europa, the EU Council headquarter, Brussels, Belgium, December 13, 2022. /CFP)

Source(s): Reuters

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