EU gas talks make progress but are ‘incredibly complex’, Rutte says

Mark Rutte talks to reporters after the meeting. Photo: EU media feed
Mark Rutte talks to reporters after the meeting. Photo: EU media feed

EU leaders have so far been unable to make concrete agreements tackling high gas prices, despite talks lasting until 2 am on Friday morning, but Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has described the meeting as ‘good’.

The Netherlands, Germany and the European Commission are not in favour of the price ceiling proposal backed by France and Belgium, arguing this could lead to countries buying elsewhere, and further increasing European shortages.

However, Rutte told reporters after the meeting that EU leaders have now agreed on the basis for an eventual price cap, should it be necessary to prevent price movements being driven upwards by speculators.

The Netherlands and Germany want more guarantees about supply risks, he said. ‘If gas prices suddenly increase, and the gas no longer comes to Europe, then we have a problem,’ he said. The issue is ‘incredibly complex’, the Dutch prime minister said.

The concluding text said that price caps could only be used if conditions, such as not endangering security of supply or gas usage, are met.

The Financial Times said the compromise ‘is a relief for EU countries including Italy, France, Spain and Belgium, which have long demanded a ceiling on gas prices’.

European energy ministers will continue the discussions on the mechanism on Tuesday.

Read the Politico article on the outcome

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