The German government now appears to be considering an EU proposal for a price cap on gas ahead of tomorrow’s informal EU meeting of heads of state, but Berlin’s acceptance of such an initiative would be conditional, requiring a compulsory and significant reduction in gas consumption levels throughout the EU.
Germany’s Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck, who heads the country’s energy portfolio, set this condition during a meeting yesterday with the energy ministers of Greece, Belgium, Italy, Poland and Spain, representing the five EU member states most supportive of a price cap on natural gas.
The European Commission’s recent proposal for an optional reduction in gas consumption would need to be made compulsory if Berlin is to accept a price cap on gas, Habeck told the five energy ministers, according to sources.
Despite Germany’s softer stance, work is still needed if a price cap on gas is to be implemented. An official decision cannot be reached at tomorrow’s EU meeting of heads of state as it is an informal session.
It will be followed by another informal meeting in Prague next Tuesday between the EU’s energy ministers.
Brussels is also working on the establishment of a new benchmark for natural gas that better reflects Europe’s new energy reality in which LNG, not pipeline gas, is now the dominant gas source.