EU leaders strike gas compromise, discuss Ukraine – DW – 10

EU leaders strike gas compromise, discuss Ukraine – DW – 10

Updated: 1 month, 13 days, 1 hour, 45 minutes, 37 seconds ago

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Europe stood together against Putin and high energy prices, even after disagreements on precisely which steps to take on gas prices.

European leaders on Friday reached agreement on what they called a "roadmap" aimed at putting in place measures to shield consumers from rising energy prices. 

Several members, including Germany, had objected to immediate moves to cap prices recommended by France and others. 

"We had a very good discussion this morning again, after yesterday having agreed on this huge energy package," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. "There is a lot of work now ahead of us where the energy is concerned. But the roadmap is very clear. And it was good to have this unanimity, this broad support for the roadmap we have put forward." 

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that the bloc stood united against Russian President Vladimir Putin and high energy prices. 

He said that under the roadmap agreed, EU energy ministers would have a precise framework for their future talks on how to reduce energy prices. 

Gas price cap remains elusive

At least 15 of the 27 countries at the summit pushed for a joint price cap on gas to reign in the cost of living

Germany and its traditional partner France were on opposing sides of the gas price cap debate, with Berlin advocating to hold off on such a measure over fear it could see gas supplies diverted to Asian markets and reduce incentives to save energy.

"We brought ourselves together," German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said after the discussion. 

"We have named precise parameters that energy ministers can use to work out the concrete details unanimously," Scholz said, adding that EU leaders could meet again if energy ministers, who are due to meet in Luxembourg on Tuesday, cannot reach an agreement.

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron said, "Our role is to make sure that there is a European unity and that Germany is part of it."

"It is not good either for Germany or Europe that it isolates itself," he added ahead of the summit. "It is important that on proposals that are the subject of a broad consensus, we can find unanimity."

Orban claims exemption for Hungary

Hungary's prime minister Viktor Orban said on Friday that the proposed price cap, if sealed, would not apply to long-term gas supply deals like the 15-year deal that Hungary has with Russia's Gazprom.

Orban wrote on his Facebook page, "We got an exemption from the gas price cap so that will not jeopardize Hungary's security of gas supply."

He also said that even if there is a joint gas procurement in Europe "that will not be mandatory for Hungary."

Energy roadmap in place

So great were some of the divisions between leaders at the summit that agreeing to further discuss an energy plan was touted as an achievement in itself.

For the time being, the European Commission has proposed that countries pool their gas purchases, and also offered a compromise that would allow for a price correction mechanism to kick in in exceptional circumstances.

"There is a lot of work ahead," said Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. "We are pushing ourselves into uncharted territory, where we don't have experience yet."

msh, mm, zc/wmr (AFP, dpa, AP, Reuters)

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