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The leaders of the 27 European Union member states debated for hours measures to address the current energy crisis during the first day of their summit on Thursday, opting for a moderate approach in the final statement as deep divisions over the long-term climate plan remain.
The energy crisis was top of the agenda of the European Council, although the rift with Poland over rule-of-law overshadowed the talks.
Poland itself, alongside Hungary and the Czech Republic, called for revisions of the EU climate plan in light of the ongoing energy crisis in Europe, Bloomberg notes.
Natural gas prices in Europe, although off the record-highs from last week, are still very high and volatile amid a very tight market with low inventory levels before the winter, low wind speeds, and record carbon prices.
Presenting a toolbox to tackle the energy crisis, the European Commission said last week that “the current price increases are likely to be temporary.”
Even after the market stabilizes next spring, prices would stay “higher than the average of the past years.” The Commission presented a toolbox for a coordinated approach to protect those most at risk in the immediate term, including by investigating “possible anti-competitive behaviour in the energy market.”
At the summit this week, the European Council said in its conclusions on energy issues that “The toolbox presented in the Commission Communication on tackling rising energy prices contains useful measures for both the short and the longer term.”
The EU leaders also invited the “the Commission to study the functioning of the gas and electricity markets, as well as the EU ETS market, with the help of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA). Subsequently, the Commission will assess whether certain trading behaviours require further regulatory action.”
The EU member states also called on the Commission to provide short-term relief to the most vulnerable consumers and consider medium and long-term measures to have affordable energy prices and energy security while keeping the net-zero by 2050 target.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.