German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Thursday that EU energy ministers still have much work to do but a solution could be found to contain speculative spikes in gas prices.
The energy crisis – aggravated by Russia slashing gas supplies to the European Union following Western sanctions over Moscow’s war against Ukraine – is threatening recession in Europe as it recovers from the Covid pandemic.
European Union ministers have been struggling to agree on a way to contain natural gas prices and help their citizens cope with inflation.
“We want to sink the gas prices jointly, it’s our shared view that it is not something abstract,” Scholz said after meeting Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Athens.
“There is still more work to do for energy ministers, especially when it comes to avoiding speculative price spikes,” he added.
Around 15 EU states, including Greece, want an EU-wide price cap, citing the inflationary pressure that recent gas price spikes unleashed on their economies. Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, leads a small group of states opposed to price ceilings.
EU energy ministers meeting on Nov. 24 will decide whether to ask Brussels to propose the cap.
Mitsotakis said EU energy ministers need to reach a solution during that meeting.
“It would be our failure, and we have discussed this at the [EU] Council if the issue returns to us,” Mitsotakis said.
“We don’t want the issue to return to the heads of states and governments at an EU Council level. We want it to be solved at the ministers’ level and it can be solved at the ministers’ level.”