EU leaders argued sharply Friday over measures to ease the energy market crisis exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but eventually managed to unite amid growing concerns about the impact on rising consumers of rising gas prices. and oil.
There was intense debate until late in the evening on whether to limit energy prices, which pitted some of the southern countries of the European Union against Germany and the Netherlands, but the EU summit ended in a compromise deal.
European leaders have pledged to buy gas at lower prices at a summit in Brussels and asked the European Commission to devise possible EU-wide measures by May in response to energy costs that have risen since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Instead of bidding on each other and raising prices, we will unite our purchasing power,” said EC President Ursula von der Leyen.
The gas joint purchasing system will be voluntary.
However, a number of analysts doubt whether the 27-nation bloc is large enough to dictate the international price of gas.
The EU summit also agreed that Spain and Portugal could intervene to reduce energy prices.
After the meeting, French President Emmanuel Macron said the bloc should improve the way electricity and gas prices are divided, while stressing that the EC should set a short-term energy price cap. “We have given a mandate to the commission to revise this price formula” in a way that will include a ceiling and be “more predictable and transparent,” Marcon said.
He also sees risks of energy shortages as early as next winter.
The French president confirmed that the European Commission will be given a mandate for joint energy purchases to enable the European Union (EU) to better manage its energy supplies and deal with energy prices.
According to Macron, there is no reason to accept Russia’s request to pay in rubles for Russian natural gas.
“All the texts that have been signed are clear. This is forbidden,” Macron told a news conference after the European Union summit in Brussels.
“European companies that buy gas and operate in Europe must do so in euros. Therefore, it is not possible today to do what is required, it is not contractual,” Macron added, referring to Russia’s demands for ruble payments. .
He said he did not believe Russia wanted to violate its treaties, but if so, then Moscow should say so.