Tuesday, February 7, 2023

EU countries agree on gas price cap

BRUSSELS ( Associated Press) — European Union ministers struck a highly anticipated deal Monday to implement a natural gas price cap that they hope will help households and businesses better deal with extreme price increases.

EU member states failed to resolve their differences in previous emergency meetings, but last week several EU leaders said a cap on gas prices was likely to be achieved this time.

Following talks in Brussels on Monday, the Czech Presidency of the European Council, which represents member states, announced the agreement, the details of which were not disclosed.

Since no consensus could be reached on the issue, the Czech Presidency opted for a “supreme majority” voting rule to reach a political settlement. Under EU rules, a qualified majority requires that 55% of member states – or 17 out of 27 – vote in favor of a resolution. Such a vote also required those nations to represent at least 65% of the bloc’s population.

The 27-nation European Union is on its way through nine rounds of sanctions against Russia over energy-saving measures to prevent war in Ukraine and shortages of fuel used to generate electricity, heat homes and run factories. stuck with.

However, they were unable to close a deal to establish a complex ceiling price for natural gas till date. The cap was promised as a way to reduce energy bills that skyrocketed during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in October.

The issue of gas price caps has proved divisive amid fears that global suppliers will bypass Europe when other buyers offer more money.

“No one, least of all I have, has nothing against low prices in the gas market. We have to lower gas prices,” German Finance Minister Robert Habeck said upon arriving at the meeting. Know that we have to be very careful that we don’t want to do something good and want to do something bad.”

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Geir Moulsen contributed to this report from Berlin.

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