ATHENS – Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis hasn’t been able to persuade the European Union to adopt a cap on soaring natural prices driven up by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but is taking another crack at it.
Greece will send a technical proposal for a cap to the European Commision following consultations with other European countries, Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas told state-run ERT TV, not giving any details about it.
That came after the 27-member bloc did agree to some policies to try to rein in the soaring costs that have also contributed to electric bills doubling in Greece, requiring 9 billion euros ($8.95 billion) in state aid.
But, typically of the EU that requires consensus, there’s division about how to proceed and Germany, the bloc’s biggest economy, doesn’t want a cap and block any proposal it doesn’t like.
Energy ministers from Greece, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium and Poland will discuss the Greek proposal in a conference call said Skrekas. “I hope that with this proposal, we will finally manage to win the necessary majority so that there is a cap on the natural gas price in Europe,” he said.
In an article published by Bloomberg, Mitsotakis pushed the EU to get a handle on the gas market with a cap he said would hold down costs but let gas distributors not be stymied outright.
“A cap should be an upward limit on how high prices can go, not an artificially low number that will destabilise markets,” Mitsotakis was quoted as saying in the article about the proposal.
“Sooner or later, markets will balance – but without a cap on prices, the cost of that balancing will be measured in lives destroyed and jobs lost,” said Mitsotakis, who hasn’t been able to persuade his peers.