15 EU Member States, including Belgium, are calling on the European Commission to urgently propose a cap on the price of gas, according to a letter viewed by Belga News Agency on Tuesday evening. The 15 energy ministers hope to discuss the proposal during an emergency meeting on Friday.
A European cap on the price of gas has already been under discussion for several weeks. The European Commission already introduced emergency intervention into the European energy market on 14 September to keep prices down, but a price cap proposal was not included.
Energy ministers had asked the commission to consider a general cap on all gas imported into Europe, but the proposal was not accepted. Belgium is pushing for a general cap on the price of imported gas. However, some within the Commission and and several other powerful EU nations (notably Germany and the Netherlands) warn that this is not realistic, instead endorsing a cap only on Russian gas.
Now, three days before Europe’s 27 energy ministers are due to discuss the European energy crisis, 15 Member States have petitioned European Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson to submit a proposal for a general gas price cap, which will form the basis of discussion at Friday’s energy council. Belgian Energy Minister Tinne Van der Straeten is among the signatories.
These countries argue that a general price cap is the best way to secure Europe's supply of gas while maintaining a pledge to reduce demand within the EU.
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Belgium, Greece, and Italy are leading this initiative and count on the support of Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain.
Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark have yet to sign the proposal. Wealthier countries are generally opposed to the price caps, which will hurt the bottom line of some energy providers.
The final decision on a cap will not require a unanimous vote but rather a qualified majority. For the introduction of a general price ceiling, the 15 signatory countries will need the support of at least one other Member State.