ER Editor: Despite all the EU’s mixed messaging about why it wants to impose a price cap on Russian natural gas, the bottom line is that Russia won’t be able to make as much as it could for its energy elsewhere, i.e. it thus has no reason to sell into Europe. Obviously, some smart people in the political class want to avoid this.
According to an article linked to below, the 10 member states opposing this cap include the Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Poland and other countries to the east of Europe. This must include Hungary.
The European Commission is walking away from the idea of proposing a price cap on Russian gas as part of measures to tackle the energy crisis, the Guardian reported on Tuesday, citing a leaked draft document of proposals it had seen.
The draft document, expected to be unveiled on Wednesday, contains no reference to any price cap on gas, be it Russian or not, according to the leak viewed by the Guardian.
Last week, the European Commission said it would propose a mandatory target for the EU to cut power consumption at peak hours, a revenue cap on electricity producers and fossil fuel companies, and a price cap on Russian gas as immediate measures to save the European gas and electricity markets and help vulnerable consumers.
“We will propose a cap on Russian gas. The objective here is very clear. We must cut Russia’s revenues which Putin uses to finance this atrocious war against Ukraine,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said last Wednesday.
However, EU member states remain deeply divided over a price cap on Russian gas, with at least ten out of 27 governments reportedly opposing such as move over concerns that Putin might retaliate with a complete halt of gas supply to the whole of Europe. Germany, Europe’s biggest economy and the most affected EU member by the now-shut Nord Stream pipeline, isn’t supportive of the plan, either.
Another group of EU countries, which include France and Poland, pushed for a price cap on all imported gas. However, the European Commission is wary of this idea because a cap would hurt Europe’s ability to draw in large volumes of LNG if prices elsewhere are higher.
The gas price cap is thus unlikely to make it in Wednesday’s proposal from the Commission, although the draft is still subject to changes, according to the Guardian.
But the EU executive arm is said to be pressing forward with a cap on revenues for nuclear and renewable power producers and a levy on the extra profits of the fossil fuel companies, including the refining sector, sources with knowledge of the discussions told Bloomberg on Tuesday.
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