The EU will propose a joint gas supply in response to high energy prices
Designed in response to rising energy prices
The European Commission will propose a system under which EU countries will jointly supply gas to form strategic reserves from it, a measure designed to respond to rising energy prices, according to a document shared with member states ahead of a summit. this week.
European gas prices hit record highs in October amid limited supply and high demand from economies around the world recovering from the pandemic COVID-19. Prices have fallen from these highs but in recent weeks have been rising again amid low winter temperatures and lower-than-expected imports from Russia.
Rising energy prices have resulted in governments struggling to find subsidies and tax breaks to protect consumers from high bills, and have led to calls from some countries for a European shared gas supply system.
The proposal to update the rules of the European gas market, which the Commission is expected to make public on Wednesday, will create such a system.
"The proposals will include the establishment of a framework for the joint procurement of strategic gas stocks by regulatory entities on a voluntary basis," the commission said in a document released to countries ahead of Thursday's EU summit, which saw Reuters.
The system "will contribute to measures, coordinated at EU level, in the event of a pan-European emergency," he said.
The document does not confirm how the co-procurement system will work in practice, but says it is part of Brussels' efforts to strengthen Europe's gas storage systems.
"Member States, through joint cooperation at regional level, are expected to be able to rely on stocks in other countries in case of need," the document said.
Lower-than-expected volumes from Russia have led some EU countries and some lawmakers to call for an inquiry into whether Gazprom has withheld quantities to drive up gas prices in recent months.
The company said it had complied with all of its contractual obligations, with major customers saying they had not requested additional quantities.