EU leaders set for summit squabble over energy crunch solutions
- 20 Oct 2022 20:11
European Union leaders went into their second summit in two weeks on Thursday to find solutions to the energy crunch they all face, but a rift over whether to put a ceiling on gas prices set the stage for a long night of testy talks, News.az reports citing UNIAN.
The EU parliament's chief said as the meeting got under way in Brussels that Europe's citizens were looking for direction as they grapple with the "spill-over effects of Russia's assault on the way of life we have long taken for granted".
"Our unity must be real ... We need to move faster and deeper," European Parliament President Roberta Metsola said in remarks prepared for delivery at a news conference.
Russia has cut gas flows to Europe following its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, which has pushed energy prices higher, fanned inflation and raised the prospect of recession across the continent.
The EU 27 are expected to agree on an alternative price benchmark for liquefied natural gas and joint gas buying, after earlier agreeing to fill gas storage and claw back revenues from energy firms to spend on helping consumers with crippling bills.
But there is tension over spending plans by countries with the deepest pockets to protect their companies and households from soaring energy prices, which some complain are unfair and undermine solidarity.
"Unity among member states is dangerously under pressure, with unilateral national decisions being announced without an EU framework to keep them together," said climate change think tank E3G.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz, defending his country's 200 billion euro support package, said Germany had acted in solidarity with other EU members during the COVID-19 pandemic and pointed to other countries that were supporting energy consumers.