EU energy officials are concerned about the effects the ongoing energy crisis in Europe will have on the continent once cold weather sets in, Commissioner Kadri Simson told journalists on Friday.
“Ministers were concerned, as am I, that this will not be an easy winter for us, and the next winter will be even more difficult,” said Simson during a press conference after an extraordinary meeting of EU energy ministers.
- The meeting was meant to address the skyrocketing gas prices in Europe and to develop a package of emergency measures aimed at assisting European households and businesses amid the crisis
The agreed-upon steps include placing a cap on energy company revenues and distributing excess profits back to consumers.
The plan also prescribes mandatory energy savings, requiring EU members to cut energy demand during peak hours by 5% and suggesting a 10% reduction in overall electricity use.
The ministers failed, however, to agree on a price cap on wholesale natural gas, which was one of the key demands issued to the European Commission by a group of 15 EU member states ahead of the meeting.
- In a joint letter, the group argued that a price cap was the one measure that could help the bloc “mitigate the inflationary pressure, manage expectations and provide a framework in case of potential supply disruptions.”
While the European Commission has not completely ruled out the possibility of a price cap on natural gas, it has warned that such a move would weaken the bloc’s ability to secure gas supplies in the global market.
The issue will reportedly be discussed at a later date, according to Lithuanian Energy Minister Dainius Kreivys.
As Russian gas deliveries to the EU have declined by as much as 48% this year, according to Gazprom, inflation in the Eurozone has since hit double digits for the first time in recent history.
It’s feared the situation will further deteriorate after the Russian Nord Stream pipelines suffered damage in a suspected act of sabotage earlier this week, which will severely limit potential gas deliveries to the bloc in the near future.