Norway 'skeptical' about EU gas price cap – PM
Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store voiced doubts on Monday about a possible price ceiling on natural gas imports proposed by a majority of EU member states.
“We approach discussions in an open spirit, but we are skeptical of a maximum gas price,” he said in a statement following a phone call with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
The PM elaborated that “A maximum price does not change the fundamental issue that there is a gas shortage in Europe.”
EU energy ministers met on Friday in Brussels to discuss urgent bloc-wide measures, including a price cap on gas imported from Russia, to combat skyrocketing energy prices. At the same time, several member states, including Italy, called for a price ceiling on all gas bought by EU states, including liquified natural gas (LNG) from the US and Qatar and natural gas from Norway.
Non-EU member Norway, which has benefitted from plunging Russian supply to the EU, had been indicating it would potentially be open to a price cap and a long-term gas agreement to help its European partners.
However, over the weekend, Gahr Store, who previously stated that “Norway is not closing doors to any such discussion,” reiterated that it is not the Norwegian government that can directly offer Europe a capped price on gas. “I tell my European colleagues that it is not me who sells the gas. Licenses are given to companies that pay a high tax, and then they are the ones who sell it,” he explained to Norwegian newspaper VG.
Norway has recently replaced Russia as Europe’s leading gas supplier, with an 8% jump in deliveries.
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