MOSCOW, 8 Sep — PRIME. The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has proposed for consideration five ways to overcome the difficult situation in the energy sector that has currently developed in Europe, Politico reports, citing six diplomats.
In particular, among the proposed measures was the establishment of a ceiling price for Russian gas. Earlier, the publication noted that the European Commission proposed to limit gas prices to €50 per megawatt-hour, warning that the European Union must be prepared to cut off fuel supplies from Russia in response to these actions.
Sources told Politico that the European authorities disagreed on this issue: Hungary, Slovakia and at least two other countries refused to support this initiative, Germany said it was “skeptical” about this idea, at the same time a number of other states, in Poland and Italy, among them, advocated limiting prices for all gas imported into the EU.
As Von der Leyen noted, the EC is considering such a scenario, but so far does not support it, since the implementation of this plan is much more difficult than limiting the price of Russian gas only.
Another measure, namely the option to reduce the demand for electricity, was generally accepted positively. But von der Leyen’s proposal is that the cuts be mandatory, while countries like Bulgaria, Hungary, Greece and Poland would prefer they be voluntary.
Other suggestions that von der Leyen put forward include:
- a solidarity tax for fossil fuel companies making big profits;
- support for utility companies, including providing them with loans to place funds necessary for trading on energy exchanges;
- limiting the income of non-importing companies that produce electricity from low-cost sources (the so-called infra-marginal producers).
It is noted that the last proposal was met positively, despite the fact that representatives of the EU countries would like to receive guarantees that the income from such taxes will remain in the right country.
Clarifying the details will be important as power plants that are paid to turn on or off as needed to balance the grid often do so at the request of utilities across a national border.
An emergency meeting of EU energy ministers is scheduled for Friday in Brussels. Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson told The Associated Press that the package is expected to be adopted next Wednesday, September 14.