NewsEconomicsGas Russia, the EU price cap risks coming late

Gas Russia, the EU price cap risks coming late

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The EU gas price cap is becoming a more shared measure, when until yesterday it was mainly an Italian proposal. And this is a significant step forward. Now, however, the key factor becomes time. Because the slowness in the decision-making process could make Moscow accumulate a useful delay to bring Europe to its knees in view of the Winter. For this reason, what will be written in the conclusions of the European Council meeting that is being held in Brussels will have a significant weight. For now, a passage has been inserted in the text in which the conclusions of the summit of 30 and 31 May are explicitly mentioned, in which the possibility of introducing a ceiling on the price of gas was expressly mentioned. “In light of Russia’s use of gas as a weapon and recalling the conclusions of May 30 and 31, the European Council invites the Commission to continue its efforts, with a view to ensuring the supply of energy at affordable prices”. It is still too general a commitment. This passage, in paragraph 23, was included in the conclusions regarding economic issues and is considered a good starting point, given that energy is officially not among the topics on the agenda, being considered divisive because there is no EU country is explicit consent on the gas price roof. But it can and must be improved if an effective measure is to be achieved within a reasonable timeframe. The real risk is that the decision will come too late. Prime Minister Mario Draghi is aware of this and will push for the Commission to speed up its work. Italy is pressing for decisions to be made before the summer break while EU sources yesterday indicated September-October as the most likely horizon. Much will also depend on how the discussion between the leaders, which will take place tomorrow, will go. The Minister of Ecological Transition, Roberto Cingolani, shows cautious optimism. “The roof is an idea proposed by Italy in unsuspected times; it has had very strong resistance in Europe, but now they are understanding that perhaps it is the only way forward”. The fact that in the conclusions of the summit this step on the gas price ceiling is obtained “is very important, it is good news for Italy” and is “a sign that the government has worked well”, summarized the secretary of the Pd Enrico Read on his arrival at the pre-summit of the European socialists. But then he adds: “Obviously now it has to be built and applied”. It must be built and applied in a reasonable time. Otherwise it risks becoming useless as the scenario becomes more complicated, day by day. Because if the Kremlin from Moscow continues to talk about a reduction in flows “due to technological maintenance problems”, the possibility that Putin also wants to use gas to put pressure on Europe is now considered a certainty. For this reason, the objective of the EU regulation on energy storage, just approved by the European Parliament, has been revised: it is essential to fill gas storage facilities to at least 80% by 1 November 2022 to protect European citizens from any supply shock. From this point of view, winter is very close. And time is running out, for storage and for the roof at the price of gas. (by Fabio Insenga)

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