Energy prices: EU ministers discuss long-term measures

Released on 26.10. 2021

  • Germany and eight other countries spoke out against reforms of the energy markets. Photo: Carsten Koall

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Not only Germany is groaning under rising energy prices – the high costs are slowly becoming a problem in other EU countries as well. What can be done about it? Opinions differ on this.

Brussels (dpa) – The energy ministers of the EU states are discussing measures against the drastically increased energy prices at a special meeting in Luxembourg today.

The topic was already discussed at the EU Summit discussed last week and is the only item on the agenda. Among other things, the ministers want to discuss proposals for long-term means against price fluctuations.

Two weeks ago, the EU Commission presented a toolbox with measures that states can use nationally against the high prices – for example tax cuts or subsidies for small businesses. The countries are largely in agreement on this, several have already implemented such measures.

A group of countries – including France and Spain – want additional far-reaching measures at EU level, however to avoid high prices in the future as well. Among other things, you proposed reforming the wholesale market for electricity, creating shared gas reserves and buying gas together. On the other hand, there is another group that insists on market-based solutions. Germany and eight other countries spoke out against reforms of the energy markets. The Commission has already promised to take a closer look at the electricity market and to examine proposals for joint gas purchases and storage trading in carbon dioxide (CO2) is partly responsible for the price increase. In the EU emissions trading system, for example, electricity providers have to pay for the emission of greenhouse gases such as CO2. However, several countries – including Germany – emphasize that the climate measures are the solution to the high energy prices, and not their origin. The European Commission now wants to take a closer look at speculation on the CO2 market.

The positions of the states are far apart – also because they are affected differently by the soaring prices. It is therefore unlikely that new agreements will be reached at the meeting of energy ministers.

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