The leaders of Greece and Italy will once again call for an EU-wide cap on wholesale gas prices, this time as an even more urgent measure given Russia’s latest gas-supply cuts to Europe, at a summit of EU leaders beginning today.
However, it remains unclear if Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his Italian counterpart Mario Draghi can convince fellow EU member state leaders to join them for a wider European front favoring the cap.
The two leaders will not be entering the summit talks with high expectations as their cause has not been included on the summit’s agenda of topics to be discussed. Even so, the cap issue is expected to be discussed tomorrow, given the latest surge in energy prices.
The Greek and Italian leaders are expected to highlight the alarming rise of natural gas over the past ten days, up 50 percent, as well as yesterday’s dire warning by Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, telling Europe to prepare for a full disruption of Russian natural gas.
Mitsotakis, the Greek leader, had also called for a cap on wholesale gas prices in March.
Authorities in Italy, one of Europe’s most dependent countries on Russian energy sources, have announced that they are examining an emergency plan, including electricity and gas use restrictions for households, businesses and industry, if Gazprom does not resume regular gas supply to the country, cut by half just days ago.
Slovakia has also reported receiving less than half of the usual volumes. France has informed it had received no Russian gas from Germany since mid-June, but the country is getting supplies from elsewhere.
Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Poland have already had their Russian gas deliveries suspended after refusing a demand to pay in Russian roubles.