EU fails to fix the gas prices gap
As the winters knock on the doors of European nations, the European Union members states have yet again failed to bridge the disagreements over fixing natural gas price cap as they struggle to extend protection for about 450 million citizens across Europe from massive surge in their utility bills. An emergency meeting of energy ministers further highlighted the energy crisis that has been largely due to Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“The discussion was quite heated, and you all know that there are very divergent views,” said Czech Industry Minister Jozef Síkela, who chaired the meeting where energy ministers “could not agree on when and how a price cap on gas purchases should kick in”.
A massive spike in natural gas prices in August had stunned all European nations as well as the countries across the world, except the wealthiest countries in Europe. This had forced the European Union bloc to explore the possibilities of capping the natural gas prices and contain the volatile prices that are triggering global inflation. But the EU is deadlocked between nations demanding cheaper gas to ease household bills — including Greece, Spain, Belgium, France and Poland — and those like Germany and the Netherlands insisting supplies are at risk if a cap stops EU countries from buying gas above a certain price, notes The Associated Press.
With the failed meeting of energy ministers, the next meeting has been scheduled for December 13. “The differences are really still major,” said Dutch Energy Minister Rob Jetten. “It means there is an awful amount of work ahead over the next two weeks.”
The natural gas and electricity prices have surged in an unprecedented manner after Moscow had slashed gas supplies to Europe that is used for heating, electricity and industrial processes. This makes the situation urgent and critical as the winter approaches. European officials have accused Russia of taking advantage of the energy as a weapon of war to punish EU countries for their support to Ukraine.