Crunch time for EU Member States to agree on energy price cap and industrial competitiveness

EU heads of state did not manage to agree on the details of a gas price cap during this week’s summit, pushing a potential decision to the meeting of Energy Ministers on Monday. The ongoing debate is delaying a package of less controversial measures to contain energy costs.

The connected challenge to protect EU’s threatened competitiveness was addressed by a request for the Commission to come up with proposals in January to mobilise relevant national and EU tools and improve conditions for investment. The Commission should furthermore come up with a strategy to boost European industrial competitiveness by early 2023. In the new year, CLEPA will consult with its members to assess how industrial policy can strengthen our sector’s competitiveness.

EU industries are waiting for agreement of an EU energy package, which is held up due to the clashing priorities of securing energy supply and maintaining affordable energy. A so-called gas market correction mechanism could cap prices at around €220 per MwH when prices exceed this for too long a period. The key market operator, ICE, threatened on Thursday that a too-quick introduction of the price cap could mean that it had to withdraw gas trading from the EU, highlighting the risks involved. The market intervention measure should also include a mechanism that would prevent member states outbidding each other when seeking to refill gas storage at any cost, a factor that contributed to a record spike in prices last year.

An agreement would pave the way for the sign off on an earlier informal agreement on joint-procurement of gas and a package of reforms to ease permit procedures for renewable energy projects.


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