The common gas purchase, led by Spain and other MMediterranean country, is in reaction to the 420% increase in natural gas prices on the block. The proposal, which is also being pushed by the European Commission, would see EU member states stockpile an emergency “strategic reserve” of natural gas, in a style similar to how the bloc has acquired vaccines for its citizens. . But Germany and the Netherlands have backed off calling the move a bad idea and believe the markets should be left to fend for themselves.
Speaking to Euronews on Thursday, Teresa Ribera, Spain’s Minister for the Ecological Transition and one of the main supporters of the project, said it was vital that the bloc continued the joint purchase.
She said: âTechnically, it’s complicated because states don’t buy, businesses don’t buy. “
She added: âBut the creation of a swimming pool that offers a certain purchase guarantee for all.
âAnd that represents sufficient volume for the countries in which it is sold. It’s a good idea!”
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Ms Ribera said that while the joint purchasing decision “may not cover everything” she insisted that “it could help create a minimum reserve” of gas available to all member states.
She concluded: âHow was the vaccine crisis resolved? When we have worked together in an orderly fashion.
âWe are thus much more efficient, and also much more reassuring. “
Despite the proposals, Germany and the Netherlands furiously rejected the idea, arguing that the EU is wrong to form a buying bloc because it would interfere with the markets.
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It will see the leaders of the member states attempt to coordinate their national approach to the crisis in line with the EU’s response, while also trying to find a way not to disrupt the energy market.
Ms Ribera added: âThe EU should emerge strengthened from an energy policy that is much more oriented towards [European] approach.
“And not just a set of rules to govern how the market works.”
While Ms Simson suggested temporary solutions such as direct income support for vulnerable households, subsidies for struggling businesses and tax cuts in the final bill in response to the crisis.