The European Commission presented new emergency measures on Tuesday 18 October in an attempt to combat soaring energy prices. After a first package of texts relating to electricity, it is this time on gas that the European executive has worked. Many states expected the institution to unveil a mechanism aimed at capping the price of gas used to produce electricity, but for the moment this is not the case.
Otherwise, the great novelty in this package which will be discussed by the 27 leaders at the European Council on 20 and 21 October lies in the idea of introducing a “price correction mechanism” which would apply to transactions taking place through the through the securities transfer mechanism (or “TTF”, the index used in Europe on the gas market). According to the Commission, this mechanism would be “dynamic”, that is, it would follow the fluctuations in the market.
Objective displayed? “Avoiding erratic price increases, in order to best protect consumers and businesses”, explains a source within the Commission. The price threshold not to be exceeded for these transactions has not yet been set. It will only come later,“if the States accept the principle of this mechanism”, adds the same source.
Solidarity between States highlighted
The Commission also places considerable emphasis on the notion of solidarity between States. In its proposal for a settlement, the institution chaired by the German Ursula von der Leyen intends to deepen the common gas purchasing platform – an idea that dates from March. Gas purchases should pass through the Commission (which itself will have chosen a service provider to fulfill this mission), at least for 15% of the volume necessary to fill the stocks of each Member State. The Commission thus hopes that European gas stocks will not be empty at the end of winter.
A form of “wait-and-see”
Still on the solidarity aspect, for the States which have not concluded bilateral agreements in the event of serious disturbances on the gas market (in the event of a shortage, in particular), a new solidarity mechanism should apply, if necessary. A regulation dating from 2017 already organized solidarity between States in the event of a supply problem, but according to the Commission it is necessary to go further today.
These Commission proposals run the risk of not being unanimously accepted, and above all of not seeming to measure up. “The Commission should have taken decisions, in particular on gas price caps, several months ago”, believes MEP Sylvie Guillaume, who regrets a form of“waiting” of Ursula von der Leyen, who is “Faced with extremely contradictory national interests”. And the chosen one to be alarmed: “At the Commission, they have not yet grasped the urgency, the explosiveness and the violence of the situation. »