The European Comission will present in the coming weeks “options for limit the contagion effect of rising gas prices in the prices of electricity“, as announced by the president of the Community Executive, Ursula von der Leyen, at the closing of the Versailles summit. These statements reinforce the hopes of the Spanish Government that the EU adopt a continental mechanism to decouple the price of gas from the electricity bill. European leaders are expected to announce concrete steps in this direction at the European Council on 24-25 March.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine accentuated the rise in energy prices. It seems, finally, that the European leaders are listening to Pedro Sánchez, who had already asked in the autumn to take measures in this regard. The leader of the PSOE will begin a tour in other European countries to convince them of the need to adopt a mechanism in this regard, as he announced in his press conference after the summit in the majestic French palace. the journey will start next week but all the stops have not yet been closed, so there is no detail of the route.
Sánchez insisted that his priority is that the EU make “decisions” and take “actions” ahead of the European summit at the end of March. The situation is “an emergency”, “and it is much better” to do it at a European level, he stressed. At the beginning of the week, the European Commission had already referred to a range of new tools to tackle electricity prices. In the coming weeks, it will have to be decided whether these have a continental character, as Spain wishes, or whether they are made available to each State.
“We need harmonize these decisions and have new instruments to deal with the impact of prices”, assured the French president, Emmanuel Macron, at the final press conference of the summit. Thanks to the fact of having a state-owned electricity company —and the context of the electoral campaign has also contributed to it—, France is one of the prices that managed to limit the sharp rises in electricity rates.”We have made many decisions, but these are exceptional and cannot last all the time,” he added.
EU leaders have also discussed improving the interconnection of the European gas and electricity networks, a claim that the Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez, has been making in recent weeks. “It is unacceptable that the Iberian Peninsula is an energy island,” said Sánchez, while defending that Spain’s regasification and renewable energy capacity can “contribute” to the “strategic autonomy” of Europe.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.