In the letter to be addressed to the European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, the ministers responsible for Energy of the subscribing Member States ask the community executive to present a proposal to limit the price of natural gas – other than that imported from Russia – to be discussed at the extraordinary Energy Council on 30 September, followed by a legislative proposal as soon as possible”.
Friday's Council aims, above all, for a political agreement around a regulation with emergency measures to face the rise in energy prices, following proposals already put forward this month by the Commission led by Ursula von der Leyen.
These proposals, on which an agreement appears to be on the way on Friday, according to European sources, include a 33% tax on the excessive profits of fossil fuel companies, to be converted into a “solidarity contribution”, a ceiling for the profits of companies producing electricity with low costs (renewable), and plans to reduce electricity consumption, voluntary (10% for general demand), and mandatory (5% in 'peak hours').
However, a wide range of countries defend that measures should also be taken to impose a ceiling on the price of natural gas, which they classify as “the most serious problem of all”, arguing that such a measure, “requested by an increasing number of Member States, is the one that will help each Member State to mitigate inflationary pressure, manage expectations and provide a framework in case of potential disruptions in supply, as well as limit windfalls in the sector”.
The governments of Belgium (the promoter of the initiative), Italy, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Greece, Malta, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia, Croatia and Romania - which still hope to gather more support - say "they recognize the efforts made by the Commission and the measures that it has presented to face the crisis”, but argue that it is necessary to face “the most serious problem of all”, imposing a maximum price on gas, for all transactions, and not just for “imports from specific jurisdictions”, thus ruling out the imposition of a price only for gas imported from Russia.
The countries argue that this 'ceiling' "can be designed to guarantee security of supply and the free flow of gas in Europe, while achieving the common objective of reducing gas demand".