ATHENS — The finance ministers of Spain, France, the Czech Republic, Greece and Romania proposed a common approach at European level in a joint statement on energy market prices.
Nadia Calviño, Spain's Second Vice-President and Minister for Economy and Digitalization, Bruno Le Maire, French Minister for the Economy, Finance and the Recovery, Alena Schillerová, Minister of Finance of the Czech Republic, Christos Staikouras, Greek Finance Minister, and Dan Vîlceanu, Romania's Finance Minister, in their joint statement stressed that the price of gas and wholesale electricity prices have risen significantly and constitute an important and growing burden on households and businesses, with a particularly strong impact on most vulnerable citizens as well as on small and medium enterprises.
Therefore, they proposed the following approach, based on 5 pillars:
First, a common approach at the European level is needed. We need a European policy toolkit to coordinate national responses to immediately react to dramatic price surges.
Second, regarding gas, the functioning of the European gas market should be investigated to understand why current gas contracts have been insufficient. We should also build common guidelines on gas storage in order to mitigate and smooth price increases. In addition, we should better coordinate our gas purchases to increase our bargaining power.
Third, we need to reform the wholesale electricity market. The electricity market has many advantages: it secures energy supplies at all times, for all European countries. But it needs to be improved to better establish a link between the price paid by the consumers, and the average production cost of electricity in national production mixes. This is all the more important as decarbonisation will increase the use of electricity in our economy.
Fourth, we should focus on achieving energy independence by investing in the diversification of our energy supply and reduce European dependency on gasexporting countries as fast as possible. Low carbon energies, for instance biomass, wind and solar energy, will play a key role in the diversification of our energy supply.
Fifth, the ETS is essential to give an explicit price to carbon and trigger energy transition. Therefore, to give public and private stakeholders an opportunity to plan ahead and shift their investments to low-carbon activities, we need to ensure a more predictable carbon price and avoid excessive volatility.