Uncertainty, multiple thoughts ahead of EU ministers meeting

The EU’s energy ministers meet in Brussels today amid a climate of uncertainty, exacerbated by a barrage of energy-crisis proposals, inappropriate conditions for crucial decision making.

Today’s session comes in the wake of the European Commission’s rejection of a proposal by 15 EU member states for a universal price cap on gas. Many proposals have since emerged.

Brussels yesterday brought back a price-cap proposal for Russian gas. However, it is believed there is little chance of the EU-27 reaching consensus on this measure for two key reasons. Firstly, it is feared Moscow would be prompted to disrupt its European gas supply through all remaining pipelines, including TurkStream, which supplies Greece. Secondly, a price cap on Russian gas supply would represent a breach of contract, by European companies, of Gazprom’s supply agreements, experts have warned.

Other proposals that have been brought forth in the lead-up to today’s meeting of EU energy ministers include European agreements with major LNG producers; the establishment of an alternative to the TTF benchmark that would be connected to the American Henry hub; a price cap on gas used for electricity generation; a windfall tax on excess refinery earnings; a limit to electricity producer windfall profits; and a compulsory reduction of electricity consumption.

Regardless of the choices made and route taken, ordinary European citizens will be anxious to see a reduction in energy costs.