BRUSSELS, Oct 5 (Reuters) – European Union governments are embroiled in talks this week on whether a surge in energy prices requires a coordinated response, as leaders weigh the potential fallout for Europe’s green transition and consumers facing the winter heating season.
EU leaders will discuss record natural gas prices on Tuesday evening and the 27 member states’ environment ministers will debate their response on Wednesday.
« The situation is becoming critical. High prices are both threatening the competitiveness of the European economy and will dramatically affect the budgets of small consumers and households, » Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said in a letter to other EU leaders ahead of their meeting.
The soaring costs have divided countries over how to respond, and whether Brussels should intervene.
Those pushing for EU action include Spain, whose proposals include a new bloc-wide system for countries to jointly buy gas, and France, which wants to change EU regulation to de-link the price of electricity from gas prices and tie it to the average cost of production in each EU state. read more
Luxembourg, Poland, Greece and the Czech Republic have also suggested a range of EU interventions for ministers to debate on Wednesday. read more
The European Commission will publish a guide for how countries can respond to price spikes on Oct. 13.
Not all are convinced EU intervention is needed to tackle what could be a short-lived problem. EU regulators expect gas market conditions to ease in the spring.