ZAGREB (Sept 27): Twelve EU member states, including Croatia, have asked the European Commission to draft a proposal for the forthcoming extraordinary meeting of energy ministers to cap wholesale natural gas prices.
"The price cap that has been requested since the beginning by an ever increasing number of member states is the one measure that will help every member state to mitigate the inflationary pressure, manage expectations and provide a framework in case of potential supply disruptions, and limit the extra profits in the sector," the energy ministers of 12 EU countries said in their letter to Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson.
The letter, seen by Croatian news agency Hina, said the energy crisis is "causing untenable inflationary pressures which are hitting our households and our businesses hard."
The letter was signed by Belgium, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Spain, it reported.
Wholesale prices at which the EU is buying natural gas are several times higher than those in the United States and Asia.
EU member states are sceptical of capping the gas price, for fear that it might lead exporters to sell liquefied gas elsewhere, which would further exacerbate the gas supply crunch.
The signatories of the letter pointed out that "the cap should be applied to all wholesale natural gas transactions, and not limited to import from specific jurisdictions".
"It can be designed in such a way as to ensure security of supply and the free flow of gas within Europe, while achieving our shared objective to reduce gas demand," Hina quoted the letter.
EU energy ministers are meeting in Brussels on Friday, in a bid to agree on a proposal for a regulation on an emergency intervention to address high energy prices.