European heads of state, govt agree on joint energy procurement

  • 2022-10-21
  • BNS/TBT Staff

BRUSSELS – The main topic of the meeting of the heads of state and government of the European Union, which took place in Brussels on Thursday, was the high inflation related to and resulting from energy and high energy prices, spokespeople for the Estonian government said.

"The discussions continued from where we left off two weeks ago in Prague -- we continued to look for solutions to lower energy prices and mitigate the impact of high prices on people," Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said.

"It is important to act together with the member states of the European Union to ensure connections and security of supply, as well as, for example, by jointly procuring gas. There are no quick fixes to achieve reasonable energy prices, but the European Commission is continuing to develop solutions to increase energy efficiency and infrastructure resilience and to increase investment in international connections, storage and renewable energy solutions," the prime minister added.

The heads of state and government decided to move forward with the European Commission's plan to jointly find suppliers to fill gas storage facilities.

"New supply partners will ensure security of supply and joint procurements will, in turn, ensure a reasonable price for consumers, along with limiting the gas price. In the current situation, it is imperative to consider all solutions and a gas price cap is one option, but it is not a long-term panacea, as it may increase consumption and, with limited suppliers, may jeopardize security of supply. Means must also be found to cover the gap between the price ceiling and reality," Kallas said.

"What was agreed tonight in Brussels allows us to face the winter with a lighter heart, but the solutions will only work if everyone in Estonia and in Europe reviews their consumption habits and saves," the prime minister added.

The European Council also discussed the fight against high inflation and the general economic situation in the European Union. The heads of state and government agreed that in the coming winter, energy measures will be jointly coordinated between countries in order to maintain the unity of the internal market and ensure security of supply, and they also discussed ensuring the liquidity of companies. Next, the agreements will go before the European Commission and the ministers of energy and finance to plan further steps. European heads of state and government will continue the discussions next time.