Europe's week: Energy crisis dominates Brussels and Gorbachev dies

Power poles stand on fields on the outskirts of Frankfurt, Germany
Power poles stand on fields on the outskirts of Frankfurt, Germany Copyright Michael Probst/The Associated Press
By Efi Koutsokosta
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What drove the week in Brussels? Here's our breakdown of the top stories.


Many of the top stories in the European Union this past week were related to the ongoing energy crisis as leaders rush to prepare what could be for a difficult winter. Here's a quick look.

The energy power play between the European Union and Russia entered a new round this week, with Gazprom shutting down once again the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline for a few days.

With energy prices breaking new records, Brussels could intervene in its electricity market in order to mitigate skyrocketing prices, a subject that appears to no longer be taboo now that gas supplies could be at risk ahead of the winter.

"Skyrocketing electricity prices are now exposing, for different reasons, the limitations of our current electricity market design," European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said this week.

"It was developed under completely different circumstances and for completely different purposes. It is no longer fit for purpose. 

"That is why we, the Commission, are now working on an emergency intervention and a structural reform of the electricity market. We need a new market model for electricity that really functions and brings us back into balance."

While some European leaders thought the energy crisis would be short-lived, now they see that prices will likely stay elevated for several years.

Fears are rising that Russia could completely turn off the gas tap in order to gain political leverage over the EU.

While Gazprom was once more stopping the gas flow to Europe this week however, the Hungarian government announced it had signed a deal with the Russian energy giant for 5.8 million cubic metres of extra natural gas per day.

Hungarian leaders said it would secure the country's energy supply ahead of the winter.

Meanwhile, southern EU countries are having their own moment as they have proposed for months now a change of the market model as well as a price cap.

"Spain is prepared to use all its capacity to help those countries that right now are suffering more from dependency on Russia and Putin's energy blackmail," Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said.

"We have to remember that Spain is responsible for 30% of Europe's LNG regasification capacities."

Europe also marked the death of the last leader of the Soviet Union this past week.

Respected in the West, Mikhail Gorbachev, died on Tuesday at the age of 91 at a Moscow hospital.

Gorbachev will always be remembered as the leader who managed to end the Cold War without bloodshed, but failed to prevent the collapse of the Soviet Union.

That's why he’s very unpopular in Russia where Putin described the collapse of the Soviet Union as the "greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century".

Each week Euronews provides a round up of top EU stories.

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