European Council President Charles Michel confirmed that the heads of government and countries of the European Union agreed to “work on measures” to contain energy prices.
French President Emmanuel Macron said he has worked extensively with German Chancellor Olaf Schulz in bilateral discussions to make progress on the issue.
“France’s role is to create a consensus between positions,” said Macron, who will meet again with Schultz next week in Paris.
The measures include temporary restrictions on gas reference prices and EU bloc solidarity rules to make gas available to all member states in the event of an emergency.
Emmanuel Macron said the mechanisms could be implemented “at the end of October and beginning of November”. The French added that European leaders “sent a very clear signal of determination and unity to the markets.”
Germany and the Netherlands have raised doubts about temporary curbs on record natural gas prices, warning they could disrupt supplies and encourage consumption.
In a concession to Germany, the mechanism would have to be accompanied by guarantees to “avoid any increase in gas consumption” and to prevent the European Union from subsidizing electricity exported to neighboring countries, including Norway, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.
Schulz emphasized that the differences were in the method, not the goal. “The prices of gas, oil and coal must go down. Electricity prices must go down and this is something that requires a joint effort from all of us in Europe,” he said.
At a press conference in Brussels, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the proposal would be discussed next week, Tuesday, by the energy ministers “of the EU member states.
But Olaf Schultz made it clear that if energy ministers cannot agree on a final version, a new summit of heads of state will be needed.
VQ (ANE) // EJ
Lusa / end
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