Greece is among 15 countries that have written a letter to the European Commission asking it to produce a proposal for an EU-wide cap on natural gas wholesale prices ahead of the emergency meeting of the bloc’s energy ministers on Thursday.
Greece, along with Belgium, Italy and Poland took the initiative to compose the letter addressed to Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson and signed by the Energy Ministers of Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
The ministers ask that the capping proposal be followed by a legislative proposal the soonest possible.
The letter says that the energy crisis, which began last autumn, has worsened and is causing untenable inflationary pressure that has hit households and businesses hard.
“We acknowledge the efforts made by the Commission and the measures it has put forward to face the crisis. But we have yet to tackle the most serious problem of all: the wholesale price of natural gas,” says the letter seen by Greece’s state Athens and Macedonian News Agency.
The letter adds that an increasing number of EU member states are demanding a price cap as the only measure that will help each member state to ease the pressure and manage inflationary expectations; the cap will also provide a framework to deal with likely supply disruption and will limit windfall profits, it says.
The 15 ministers further propose for the cap to be applied in all natural gas wholesale transactions and not limited to imports from specific jurisdictions. This can be done in a way that will both secure supply security and achieve the common goal of demand reduction, they say.
The price-capping proposal also has its detractors, with several other EU members, notably Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands opposing it on the grounds it will undermine supply security.
The Commission has so far limited its proposals to a windfall tax on gas supplier profits and consumption savings.