Russia 's failure to increase supplies in the short term to ease the shock to energy prices in Europe shows why the EU needs to wean itself off foreign fossil fuels and develop renewables, says the bloc's top energy official said.
EU energy commissioner Kadri Simson also defended the green agreement plan to move to a net zero carbon economy by 2050, amid calls for a overhaul of climate policy from Central European leaders, as she presented the response from the 'EU toSoaring energy prices after wholesale electricity prices rose 200% over the past year.
The European Commission has been under pressure to open an investigation into ia's Russ Gazprom, which is accused of seeking to profit from high world prices. Calling for an EU investigation, a group of MEPs suggested last month that the Russian state monopoly could be guilty of "deliberate market manipulation" in order to put pressure on regulators to speed up the market. approval of Nord Stream 2 pipeline connecting Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea.
Vladimir Putin on Wednesday rejected the idea that Russia was using energy as a weapon: "This is just politically motivated chatter, which has no basis ", the Russian president said at a conference on the energy in Moscow. He said Russia is fulfilling its contractual obligations and is ready to increase supplies if requested.
Simson said the commission remains vigilant over any "manipulation , speculation and anticompetitive activity ”in the European market, but did not set this accusation at Russia, which supplies 41% of the EU's gas. "Our initial evaluation indicated that Gazprom has fulfilled its long-term contracts, while providing little or no additional supply. final, the solution is the same whether it is a question of price, security of supply orweather. Developing local renewable energies is the way to go, ”she told reporters. "I would rather be in a position where we are not dependent on foreign fossil fuels.
But a Polish government source rejected the analysis of the commission on Russia, accusing Gazprom of trying to pressure the EU to make a quick decision on Nord Stream 2 and allow it to relax operational rules. The "commission is therefore expected to check Gazprom's actions in 2021 against the backdrop of potential market abuse," the source said.
The construction of the pipeline was completed last month but cannot start delivering gas until it clears regulatory hurdles in Germany and Brussels.
European household energy bills have risen in response to a set of economic factorsmics, policies and meteorological. Rising global demand, largely driven by China's post-pandemic economic rebound, has combined with the depletion of gas reserves across the continent by the cold winter of the last year. Meanwhile, the EU's carbon price has reached record highs, but analysts say it accounts for only a small part of the price increases.
According to an analysis by the commission, countries that generate more of their wind and solar power have been less affected by rising gas prices.
" We are not facing soaring energy prices because of our climate policy or because renewables are expensive, "said Simson. "We are facing it because fossil fuel prices are skyrocketing. We do not yet have affordable green energy for everyone. We have to aspeed up the green transition, not slow it down.
Hungarian and Polish politicians have sought to tie the trading system a key element of the bloc's environmental policy - to soaring gas prices. Yet independent analysis suggests that increases in energy prices are largely due to increased global demand for gas.
S ' Speaking at a press conference in Brussels, Simson announced that the EU executive would review the widely disseminated data joint purchase of emergency gas reserves - an idea pushed by the Spain, one of the countries most affected by rising energy prices.
The proposal is far from immediate action, reflecting skepticism in Brussels that EU Member States have an appetite for this actioncommon. The commission "will explore the possible benefits of jointly purchasing reserve stocks ... to enable the pooling of forces and the creation of strategic reserves," said a policy document released on Wednesday. As with the EU's joint procurement of coronavirus vaccines, participation would be voluntary.
EU leaders will deliver their initial verdict on the idea at a summit next week, but some countries have already sounded a cautious note.
The document is likely to disappoint member states looking for an immediate answer. Rather than an action plan, it is mainly a list of suggestions that EU governments could adopt under existing rules.
Governments, for example, are reminded that they can give subsidies to the poorest consumers to save me money.omitted from energy insurance; take steps to prevent people from being cut off for unpaid bills; reduce taxes on energy; and consider removing renewable energy levies from energy bills for a while.