EU energy meeting: Belgium wins first battle over gas price cap

As requested by Belgium and Italy, the European Commission received the task from the EU energy ministers today to formulate a proposal for a "temporary emergency mechanism, including a price cap for gas". 

Belgium and Italy have been pushing for this measure for some time. According to the Italian Minister of Energy, fifteen member states supported this idea during the meeting, while five spoke out against it, including Hungary, Austria and the Netherlands. Germany's Energy Minister Robert Habeck said Berlin is open to the discussion. 

Now experts from Italy, Belgium and Germany will support the Commission in the technical elaboration in the coming days.

"Our first battle has been won," a Belgian source told the Belgian newspaper De Standaard. "But the Commission's appetite for working this out is not great," highlights the newspaper.

The energy price cap idea was not one of the five measures that Commission President Ursula von der Leyen put on the table on Wednesday.

According to the Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson, the LNG market is a global market with strong competition, and the European Union is not among the three largest regional importers.

"It is important to have alternative suppliers to replace the falling Russian volumes,” she said during a press conference.

Four other ideas from von der Leyen will become legislative proposals, tackling super profits of companies that generate electricity from solar, wind or nuclear energy via a price ceiling that has yet to be agreed; governments could use that revenue to help vulnerable citizens and businesses financially; and a solidarity contribution will be requested from fossil energy producers. There is also an agreement to reduce demand for electricity in the coming months, although nobody knows yet if it will be mandatory or not. 



© BELGA PHOTO EU (JOHN THYS / AFP) EU Energy commissioner Kadri Simson (C) during a joint press conference with minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic Jozef Sikela as part of the meeting of EU Energy ministers to find solutions to rising energy prices at the EU headquarters in Brussels on Septembre 9, 2022.

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