EU leaders met in Versailles, France, on Thursday to discuss urgent matters facing the continent. Namely, the war in Ukraine and the soaring energy prices that are affecting almost all parts of the economy.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in Thursday's talks that a cap on gas prices that aims to curb high energy prices in the European Union should be on the table.
The energy prices have been rising since autumn last year, but the situation has been exacerbated by the conflict in Ukraine, as the EU remains hooked on Russian gas, and could further worsen if Russia seeks to cut Europe off completely.
The EU is scrambling to search for alternatives ahead of next winter to secure the availability of gas and to make Europe independent from Russian fossil fuels, but in the meantime, it is searching for ways to curb the hike in prices, especially for households, but also for businesses, who are increasingly feeling the negative impact of rising costs.
"In the short-term, we need to address high energy prices and prepare for next winter. On top of price regulation and state aid, we are looking at options to limit the rise of electricity prices," von der Leyen said.
At the national level, Member States can temporarily intervene in retail prices and the Commission will introduce a relaxed framework for state aid to companies. For financing, the Commission suggests, among other things, temporary levies on the excess profits currently being made by the energy sector.
In the short-term, we need to address high energy prices and prepare for next winter.On top of price regulation and state aid, we are looking at options to limit the rise of electricity prices. We will soon propose a minimum of 90% of gas storage by 1st October, every year. — Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) March 10, 2022