Russia 'took advantage' of Europe's energy issues says expert
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The Commission proposed a system that would allow the countries’ transmission system operators (TSO) to jointly buy strategic stocks of gas. Some of these plans would also help strengthen gas storage and aims to add more low-carbon gases to the network. They would also prove to be useful in an emergency situation of severe scarcity.
This comes after Spain pushed for strong reforms in the EU energy sector after a surge in gas prices.
Madrid has been one of the most outspoken governments calling on the European Commission for action on energy prices.
Since July this year, they campaigned for a change to the EU’s marginal pricing system.
Under this system, rates are set by the highest prices that national grids are willing to pay.
Last month officials also demanded a common EU approach to natural gas purchases.
This change would balance the vendors’ market power and the building of strategic reserves.
On Tuesday, Spanish deputy prime minister Teresa Ribera told reporters that joint, rather than individual, purchasing could help secure better terms in global gas markets.
However, this view has faced strong opposition from Northern EU countries, including the previous German government, who countered with their own papers.
This bloc argued that any energy price increase was not permanent and should not lead the EU to change its rules.
However, the Spanish officials’ proposals to reform EU energy rules had the backing of countries that account for 45 percent of the EU population, including southern and eastern nations.
They also said they were convinced more leaders are realizing the price spikes are a problem, according to POLITICO.
France has previously backed Spain in these reform proposals, with Bruno Le Maire, France’s economy minister saying in October: “The EU energy market is not fit for what we want to achieve.
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“It is time to have a look at the European energy market. It has one major downside, which is the alignment of electricity prices with the price of gas.”
Gas prices have been skyrocketing for the past few months, and many have placed the blame for the shortages at the feet of Russia and President Vladimir Putin, who is said to be politicising the situation.
But Moscow’s largest gas supplier, Gazprom, stated that they have continually met contractual obligations.
EU officials claim that Russia is deliberately slowing the flow of gas over an ongoing dispute of the legitimacy and opening of the second Nord Stream pipeline.
Unfortunately for the EU, these reforms come too late as they are unlikely to be put into effect this winter.
These proposals will face months of negotiations between the European Parliament and EU member countries, who are fiercely divided about the many of these rules.
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