Energy ministers from EU member states are gathering in Brussels on Monday to attempt to reach agreement on capping gas prices, an emergency step that has divided sentiment inside the bloc as it seeks to calm the energy crisis.
Last week, national leaders encouraged their ministers to endorse the cap on Monday to conclude a policy that had been deliberated for months without agreement despite two emergency sessions.
According to the draft seen by Reuters, a cap would be triggered if the front-month contract at the Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF) gas hub exceeded 188 euros per megawatt hour for three days. This is far lower than the 275 eur/MWh proposed by the European Commission last month.
To combat the high gas prices that have increased people’ energy costs and fueled record-high inflation this year after Russia cut off most of its gas exports to Europe, countries like Belgium, Poland, and Greece have demanded a cap below 200 eur/MWh.
But countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, and Austria are concerned that the cap could cause chaos in Europe’s energy markets and lead the EU to lose access to crucial gas shipments. They have pushed for stricter criteria, such as an automatic halt to the cap if it has unintended negative effects.