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Belgium: Don’t open the champagne… but put it in fridge – Czech minister after price cap row overshadows energy agreement

The European Union energy ministers failed to agree on a package of emergency measures to curb the fallout from high natural gas prices, during the Extraordinary Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council meeting in Brussels on Thursday.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic Jozef Sikela, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU, said that the bloc would meet once again on December 13, in an attempt to bridge differences.

“We are not opening the champagne yet but put the bottle in the fridge. I will wait for us until mid-December most probably on 13th December when we meet again at the 5th extraordinary energy council,” he said.

“Of course, the discussion is extremely complicated because there are simply different views on how the cap should work and how deep basically the intervention should go,” the minister added.

However, the EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson said that the member states agreed on regulations for joint gas purchases and on the permitting of renewable energy projects.

“We have a process in place so that will allow us to pool our demand through EU-managed platform and buy 13.5 billion cubic metres of gas together next year in time to refill our storage,” she added.

During her speech, Simson also pointed out that Union is missing “a tool to address price spikes that do not reflect the reality of the market.”

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