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Brussels aims to coordinate gas purchases in bid to lower costs

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By Alberto de Filippis
Brussels aims to coordinate gas purchases in bid to lower costs
Copyright  Bodo Marks/AP   -  

The European Commission wants to coordinate the purchase of gas across the continent to battle soaring energy prices.

It also wants member states to be obliged to fill up to at least 80% of the underground storage facilities existing in Europe.

"We are proposing common gas procurements and stricter rules for storage because instead of outbidding each other and driving prices up, we should pull out common weight and start buying gas together as europeans not (as) 27 different member states," Ursula von der Leyen European Commission president said.

Brussels also says that it must have enough gas reserves for the next two years. There are currently 160 storage facilities in the EU that are around 26% full.

Some of them belong to Russia's Gazprom that have have lagged below overall EU levels in recent months.

Now, the European Commission is suggesting that the Russian company could be expelled from the European market if it does not comply, as Simone Tagliapietra from Bruegel explains.

"There will be several actions undertaken in the case they don't do that," Tagliapietra told Euronews. "I think there are legal ways, not necessarily nationalisation, that can be utilised to push these companiese to fill up these storages."

For now, the European Commission is reluctant to introduce measures to regulate the markets, as many members states have requested. It argues that introducing a cap on prices for electricity or decoupling the price of energy from gas seems a good idea in the short-term, but could generate serious risks.

EU leaders will discuss the issue during at this week's summit.