EU von der Leyen backs Russian gas pipeline price cap

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen attends a press conference after a meeting at the Baltic Sea Energy Security Summit, at Marienborg in Kongens Lyngby, north of Copenhagen, Denmark, August 30, 2022. Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix/via REUTERS

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MURNAU, Germany, September 2 (Reuters) – Europe must impose a price cap on the Russian gas pipeline, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday to foil what she said were attempts by the Russian President Vladimir Putin to manipulate the bloc’s energy market. .

She also called for action to skim off some windfall profits electricity providers have made from the gas crisis, using the money to support vulnerable citizens and businesses.

“I firmly believe that now is the time to cap prices for the Russian gas pipeline to Europe,” von der Leyen told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of conservative German lawmakers in the town of Murnau.

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“A gas price cap can be offered at European level, and there is also a legal basis at European level to temporarily skim profits as an emergency measure in times of crisis,” she added.

In the current EU electricity market, generators sell their electricity at a price set by the last plant needed to meet demand – often a gas-fired plant, which means that the recent spike in gas prices drove up the cost of electricity.

Russia has cut gas deliveries to Europe since invading Ukraine, which has driven gas prices to record highs. Countries are scrambling to find an alternative supply as they seek to fill gas storage for the winter.

European Union energy ministers will meet on September 9 to discuss their response to the price spike.

On September 14, von der Leyen will present the Commission’s ideas on emergency EU measures to tackle soaring prices, a senior commission official said on Thursday. Read more

“Over the past weeks and months, we have worked hard at the European level to fight against these (Putin) manipulations,” von der Leyen told Murnau.

“We have agreed on common (gas) storages and have reached an average 80% filling level now, two months ahead of schedule,” she said, noting that Norway is supplying now more gas to the block than Russia.

“But all this is not enough: we see that the electricity market no longer works because it is massively disrupted due to Putin’s manipulations,” von der Leyen said, adding that Russia is now opting for the torch rather than to deliver the contractual volumes to Europe. .

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Reporting by Reuters TV; written by Sabine Siebold and Paul Carrel; edited by Matthias Williams and Jason Neely

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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