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11 Sep, 2022 13:31

Italian minister shares details of plan to cap EU gas prices

The European Commission is expected to outline a proposal on the measure as early as this month
Italian minister shares details of plan to cap EU gas prices

The European Commission is expected to submit a proposal aimed at imposing a generalized price cap on all gas imports this month, Italian Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani said on Saturday in an interview with la Repubblica newspaper.

According to the minister, the plan to cap gas prices has already been outlined and, so far, has been backed by 15 member states, including Germany.  

“The proposal will be issued in September. We are currently working to have a majority to support it,” Cingolani said.

Gas prices throughout the bloc have been rapidly rising for several months as a result of sanctions imposed on Russia over its conflict with Ukraine, as well as a reduction in supply from Moscow.

EU leaders had previously announced plans to reduce gas consumption by 15% from August 1 until the end of March 2023. Member states have discretion in relation to the specific measures adopted to achieve the reduction.

Policymakers within the bloc are also developing a plan to tackle the energy crisis ahead of the upcoming winter season. 

Earlier this week, Politico reported that the steps proposed by the European Commission include price caps on Russian gas imports, a reduction of energy consumption, support for utility companies, and the imposition of a tax on fossil fuel firms that record large profits. The package will reportedly be approved on September 14.

According to the Financial Times, at least ten EU countries are pushing for a price cap on imports from all suppliers, not just Russia. Italy, Poland and Greece have reportedly spoken against the plan to limit prices only for Russian gas, which has been proposed by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Meanwhile, Hungary, Austria and the Netherlands do not support the imposition of a price cap.

Brussels is concerned that Russia could stop gas deliveries in the event of a price cap. Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow would halt oil and gas shipments to nations that make political decisions in violation of contractual obligations.

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