In the morning on Friday, 21 October, leaders of European member states agreed on a roadmap for measures to protect European consumers from growing energy prices.
The agreement was reached after 11 hours of discussions about different proposals for energy price reduction in a situation when the war in Ukraine has considerably increased gas prices.
With winter coming, 27 EU member states spent a lot of time on discussions of the best ways to resolve the growing heating price problem for households and enterprises.
Although unity was voiced during the reading of the summit’s statement, it is clear the negotiations that will soon follow will be difficult.
One step in this direction will be the next week’s meeting of EU ministers of energy in Luxembourg.
The agreement reached at the summit a strong roadmap to continue working on the energy price topic, said President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.
The published text of the agreement invites the European Commission and EU member states to come up with ways to protect consumers from high prices, while maintaining Europe’s global competitiveness and integrity of the single market.
President of the Council of Europe Charles Michel said that the energy crisis has created threats for EU’s internal market, stressing that the union needs maximum coordination to protect it.
At least 15 EU member states, which is more than half of the bloc, want an ambitious price cap, but Europe’s biggest economy – Germany – opposes it, fearing that by doing this the bloc will impact its own competitiveness, adding that gas supplies may thereby turn away towards Asian markets.
The text of the agreement states it is necessary to perform a «cost/benefit analysis» for electricity price cap and assess the effect outside of Europe.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who commented on Germany’s self-isolation at the summit, said he is satisfied with the outcome of the summit.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said «good progress» was made.
Considering Germany’s concerns, the summit’s agreement supported joint procurements by EU’s energy giants in order to secure reserves are cheaper prices for «national needs».
The agreement also covers restrictions in order to «prevent increased gas consumption».
Another section of the agreement authorises the European Commission to set a corridor for gas prices, so that there is a mechanism in situations when prices become uncontrollable.