Friday, December 3

EU’s Gentiloni Warns France Against’Risky’ Energy Market Revamp

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(Bloomberg) — The European Union should avoid “hasty and risky” energy market reforms in response to recent jumps in consumer prices, said Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni.

France is pushing the EU to revamp energy markets to bring visibility to prices and tackle surging gas and electricity costs. Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said last week that the price gains “jeopardize the social and economic sustainability of the energy transition.”

“Hasty reforms in the energy markets are dangerous,” Gentiloni, a former Italian prime minister, was quoted as saying Sunday by Germany’s Die Welt newspaper.


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“Because of price increases, the political pressure is very high right now, but that should not lead to hasty reactions, also because the price development is probably only temporary,” he added. “Otherwise we run the risk of intervening with changes in a market that normally functions extremely well.”

European leaders have mostly brushed off calls for a fundamental overhaul, opting to stick with the tax cuts and subsidies many states have already introduced to ease the pain on consumers.

But France believes governments should decouple the cost of electricity bills from rising fuel prices — when electricity is mainly produced with nuclear plants and renewables. It counts Spain and Greece among its allies.


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One of France’s proposals is for an “automatic stabilizer” to transfer the gains from high energy prices from power producers to electricity suppliers and customers.

Gentiloni was also skeptical of the idea of ​​EU nations procuring joint supplies of gas.

“We have had good experiences with the joint EU purchase of Covid vaccinations, but gas deliveries are not Covid vaccinations,” he told Die Welt.

“We have to negotiate with countries in North Africa, Norway and especially with Russia,” he added. “We need a common European stance toward other countries, but translating that into joint procurement is not the obvious way forward.”

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