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Again, EU energy ministers meet over high energy prices

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European Union energy ministers meet in Prague on Wednesday to find common ground in tackling high energy prices.

Calls for an EU-wide solution intensified after Germany was criticised for announcing a gas subsidy package worth up to 200 billion euros (194.2 billion U.S. dollars), but ideas for limiting prices differ strongly across the bloc.

Approaches tabled include buying gas together to reduce prices, capping the price of Russian gas imports, limiting the price of gas transactions within the bloc, and putting a ceiling on the price of gas used for electricity generation.

Germany remains sceptical of measures that intervene directly in the price of gas and wants to make progress on joint purchases.

Other countries, including France, Belgium and Italy, are calling for caps.

Spain and Portugal are already subsidising the cost of gas used to generate electricity to lower prices for consumers and businesses, a measure which is gaining traction among other EU member states.

Energy ministers are also expected to discuss reforming the electricity market and how an EU-wide gas price measure could be financed.

Some countries want to draw inspiration from the COVID-19 pandemic when EU member states took on joint debt or issued joint guarantees for national loans.

EU leaders are expected to continue the discussion on funding at a summit in Brussels next week. (NAN)

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