Spain stands up to the “tease” of the latest proposal from the European Commission to apply a ceiling to the price of gas. An instrument that the Community Executive itself recognizes that it would never have been applied in the worst of the price crisis last August. A mechanism, therefore, almost impossible to apply, which would be activated when the price of 275 euros was exceeded for two weeks in the Dutch TTF and, at the same time, the difference with the price of international liquefied natural gas exceeded 58 euros.
For the Spanish government, “it is not serious”, said Vice President Teresa Ribera, who this Thursday attended the extraordinary meeting of the EU Energy Ministers and sent a clear message: Spain will not support any more energy measure until the cap to the feasible gas price is included.
“There are three texts”, Ribera explained upon arrival at the Europa Building in Brussels: “One that seeks to reinforce solidarity with countries that may have more difficulties, even forcing the contribution of resources by those of us who do have the capacity to solve difficulties; and a second on ways to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy. These two are presented for adoption. In addition, a third text made public by the European Commission on how to limit the increase in the price of gas is presented for the general debate. It seems to us that the three texts are very closely related and it would be enormously unbalanced to adopt today the proposals presented by the Council on how to speed up the deployment of renewables and how to strengthen solidarity with those who need it and, nevertheless, leave empty a proposal made by the Commission that clearly seems to us absolutely inapplicable, ineffective and outside the purpose and the demands reiterated by the Energy Council and the European Council as a priority aspect to address this crisis”.
“What’s more”, Ribera continued, “we believe that the proposal made public by the Commission can generate the opposite effect to that desired, which will encourage an increase in gas prices rather than contain gas prices. With respect to the two proposals that are presented for adoption, it is not possible to adopt them if it is not in the same package, on the same day, as the one related to the cap on the price of gas”.
Ribera has recognized that this Thursday “is a complicated council in which the national positions are divided. There is a large majority of Member States who view with great concern how slowly the Commission is reacting to the mandate it has received from the European Council, from the Energy Council. There are some Member States that feel uncomfortable with that approach of approving two regulations today and leaving the debate on the gas ceiling for later.
According to the vice president, “the mechanism [propuesto por Bruselas] has three serious price and condition design problems. That is to say, the three central elements are poorly posed. There is one very good thing and that is that the Commission has presented a proposal, we have a text on which to be able to discuss, and I think that this allows for improvements at a technical level. In our opinion, a price cannot be demanded so high that it will never, ever be applied. In other words, these forecasts could not have been applied this summer because it is required that this price threshold be exceeded for 15 consecutive days. We also believe that setting a fixed price is a mistake. We thought it would be much more reasonable to put a dynamic price. But as the three conditions are defined, it seems designed precisely to ensure that it never ever comes to pass. And that seems to us to be a bad joke on the part of the Commission”.
In this sense, Ribera has insisted: “It would be a mistake to give way to the solidarity and joint purchase proposals without being clear about what that represents in terms of impact on the prices at which that gas is offered or at which it is going to be provided. for whom we show solidarity. The three things are linked and it is what is missing in the way in which it has been managed. We think that we are in a position to be able to reach an agreement around the main lines of the three things in a few days, in two weeks, in three weeks. But we believe that supporting part of that package today, leaving open such an important element as guidance on the general price path that we buy at, would be a huge mistake. So, in our view, we should adopt all three simultaneously and avoid the mistake of supporting two proposals that are important but partial, and leave to an uncertainty that is yet to be resolved the question of how price ceilings, the price cap, are dealt with of gas, which is the origin of the problem we are experiencing at the moment”.
“It makes little sense to introduce forks as high as the one made by the Commission”, explained Ribera: “It can generate the opposite effect to the one sought. And it is simply that the message is given that Europe is willing to buy at that price and, therefore, what we do is call up the prices at which gas is sold to us in Europe. So neither because of the threshold that the Commission has set, nor because of the way in which it defines the operation of that threshold, does the proposal seem correct to us ”.