The leaders of the European Union will not decide to impose a cap on natural gas prices when they meet for a summit in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday, Paolo Gentiloni, the European Commissioner for Economy, said on Monday.
Italy has proposed to the other EU member states that they place a cap on the price of gas imported from Russia in order to tame soaring inflation and skyrocketing energy prices in the 27-member bloc. Other EU countries have expressed doubts that a price cap would work.
Yet, the EU leaders could decide to ask the European Commission to study the possibility of a cap on gas prices, Gentiloni said at a meeting at the Foreign Press Association in Rome, as carried by Reuters.
“If this is agreed among member states, the Commission will act very quickly to analyse this possibility,” the Commissioner said.
“It would already be an important step if the EU Council gave the Commission the go-ahead” to study the idea and the possible mechanism of imposing a gas price cap, Gentiloni said.
Earlier this month, EU officials are said to have started considering capping natural gas prices if Russia significantly reduces its gas supply to Europe.
Russian giant Gazprom has already cut supply to Poland, Bulgaria, and Finland after they refused to pay in rubles for Russian gas.
Apart from gas and other energy-related issues, the EU is seeking to reach a compromise on some kind of an oil embargo against Russia, which has been so far blocked by Hungary.
Before the EU summit, EU envoys were expected to continue discussions about imposing a partial embargo on Russian oil imports. The bloc failed to reach an agreement on Sunday, but they will try again ahead of the summit on Monday, officials and diplomats told Reuters. The latest proposal for a compromise includes banning seaborne oil imports from Russia into the EU, but leaving the Druzhba oil pipeline carrying oil to Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic out of the oil ban, for now.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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