EU-Med countries seek more flexible gas price cap mechanism

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By Euronews  with AP
(L-R) Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, Emmanuel Macron, President of France and Pedro Sánchez, Prime Minister of Spain
(L-R) Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, Emmanuel Macron, President of France and Pedro Sánchez, Prime Minister of Spain   -   Copyright  J.M Fernandez/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved

Leaders of several Mediterranean and Southern European countries have called on Brussels to come up with a more flexible gas price cap mechanism than the recently proposed cap of €220 per megawatt hour.

The call made at an EU-Med9 summit in Spain further highlighted divisions within the EU over the proposed cap. The bloc initially proposed a cap of €275 last month but this was met with considerable opposition. Several EU members want no price cap at all.

Spanish Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said the EU-Med leaders agreed to work together so that the December 13 meeting between the EU's energy ministers could reach “a gas price cap that is more dynamic and effective.”

We finished a very productive summit from which we emerged with a common agenda for the Mediterranean. The countries of #MED9 agree: unity and solidarity in the face of Putin's blackmail with gas and oil to Europe. Our voice has more and more weight in the EU.

When the first figure of €275 was proposed, Spain and others said it was so high it was very unlikely the price would reach that figure, and therefore the capping mechanism would never need to be activated.

Spain and other countries want a much lower cap and one that is fluid, linked to a market index that can be applied whenever necessary. This, in turn, they argue, would help both countries and consumers in a more realistic manner.

The energy crisis triggered by Russia´s invasion of Ukraine this year dominated the summit. The leaders reiterated the need for the EU to build on European energy sovereignty and achieve independence from Russian fossil fuels.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Friday’s talks produced “real convergence toward both security of (energy) supplies and reduction of gas prices.” 

Reducing our emissions to protect our climate, supplying our territories with clean energy to reindustrialise and strengthen our strategic autonomy, these are the objectives we are aiming for with the H2Med project, the first stage of a major European hydrogen network.

He said the leaders share “collective support for grouped purchases” of gas and are notably aiming to make medium and long-term contracts together for the next three to five years, to bring prices down.