The EU recognizes a “specific treatment” to tackle the energy crisis in the Iberian Peninsula. This was explained by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, at the end of the summit.
“In the current context of very high electricity prices”, say the conclusions approved by the EU leaders, “the European Commission is ready to urgently assess the compatibility of the temporary emergency measures in the electricity market notified by the Member States, to mitigate the impact of fossil fuel prices on electricity production, with the provisions of the Treaties and Regulation 2019/943”.
According to the conclusions, “when assessing such compatibility, the Commission will also ensure, through an accelerated procedure, that the following conditions are met: the measures reduce spot electricity market prices for companies and consumers and do not affect commercial conditions to an extent contrary to the common interest. To make this assessment, the temporary nature of the measures and the level of electrical interconnectivity with the single electricity market will be taken into account.
During the summit, Germany and the Netherlands have been the main rivals against the Spanish proposals to limit gas prices within the concept of “Iberian energy island”. According to them, putting a limit on the price of gas in the wholesale market and compensating the electricity companies for the difference would generate distortions in the European electricity market.
While the south has defended an intervention by the EU, with caps on electricity or gas prices, or changing the structure of the energy market, another group, led by Germany and the Netherlands, has opposed these measures. : They want to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy and the EU legislative package to reduce carbon emissions, the so-called Fit for 55. They also defend that reforming the market could threaten the security of Europe’s energy supply.
Another point of contention has been securing enough gas for next winter as Europe pulls the plug on Russian energy purchases. The offers on the table include the joint purchase and storage of gas in the EU. While these proposals have proven less controversial, Berlin remains unconvinced.
During the negotiations this Friday, at one point Pedro Sánchez got up from the table and forced a half-hour break. The President of the Government, according to the sources, “is being very constructive”, and they explain that he “has been annoyed with a tweet in which he was pointed out as a vetoing leader and has said that it must be stopped. He has made a technical stop to then continue working ”. The tweet was from journalist Dave Keating of France 24..
“It is being intense, we are beating the copper”, they explained in that Government sources: “We are being constructive and it bothers them that they say that you are vetoing. Here we are all defending national interests. This is to be or not to be. Those who are against our proposals saying that they defend the market, in reality they are also defending the national interests of the countries that benefit from the design of the market. The market is broken, gas prices are divorced from reality.”
Government sources insisted on “how difficult it is to put something on the table in the EU”. What the Executive was looking for is a mandate to the European Commission for an “urgent European legislative proposal”. But, they acknowledge, “Germany does not want to intervene in the market”, and, for this reason, the Executive tries to explain that the Spanish proposal “is surgical, temporary, and without impact on the market” when referring to the “energy island”.
“If Germany yields, others would not block,” the sources conclude: “The president is willing to beat the copper.”
These countries consider that capping the price of electricity can make energy producers take it to other places and “generate a huge problem of security of supply.”
In the days leading up to the meeting, they have come to accuse Pedro Sánchez of “Don Quixote fighting the windmills” and the Belgian Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo, of being his “Sancho Panza”.