December 1, 2022

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Belgium and 14 other EU countries want to propose a general gas cap this week |  Economie

Belgium and 14 other EU countries want to propose a general gas cap this week | Economie

Fifteen European member states, including Belgium, want the European Commission to present a proposal this week to introduce a general price cap for gas, so that energy ministers can discuss it at their emergency meeting on Friday. Belga was able to see the letter on Tuesday evening.

The European price ceiling for gas has been on the table for several weeks. The Commission proposed its “emergency intervention” in the energy market on 14 September to lower prices, but the proposal for such a price cap was not part of that. The energy ministers had asked the commission to study a general ceiling – that is, on all gas imported to Europe – but this work is not finished yet.

Belgium is one of the member states pushing hard for the introduction of such a general cap, but other countries and the commission have always cautioned about security of supply and consider a cap on Russian-only gas more viable.

basis of discussion

Three days before the 27 energy ministers meet again to discuss the price crisis in the energy sector, 15 member states sent a letter to Energy Commissioner Kadri Simpson urging him to submit a proposal to introduce a general gas price cap, which could already be Friday. Serves as a basis for debate in the Energy Council. Thereafter, the committee must submit a formal legislative proposal “as soon as possible”. Belgian Energy Minister Tine van der Straiten (Green) is one of the signatories.

The two countries argue that the general price cap “can be designed in such a way as to ensure the security of supply and the free flow of gas in Europe, while still meeting our objective of reducing gas demand.”

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No unanimous vote needed

Belgium, Greece and Italy are said to have retracted this letter. Eventually they were taken to Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark in particular did not win a general price ceiling, and therefore did not sign the letter.

The final decision on the price ceiling should not be approved unanimously, but by the so-called majority. Together, the fifteen countries that signed the letter narrowly failed to achieve such a majority. To introduce a general cap, they would need the support of at least one other member state.