EU gas price cap plan is ‘not sufficient’, says French minister

France’s energy minister has said the European energy market needs “structural” reform if EU industry is to survive the current crisis, arguing that Brussels’ attempt to cap gas prices is “not sufficient”.

Arriving for an emergency meeting of energy ministers in Brussels on Thursday to discuss the gas price cap, Agnès Pannier-Runacher said the proposal by the European Commission this week was “certainly not a structural reform nor a response to the high gas price that the European industry faces and which endangers our economies. It is not a sufficient text.”

Pannier-Runacher is one of several ministers to have spoken out against the commission’s proposal for a limit on gas prices of €275 per megawatt hour. The cap has been criticised by analysts who point out that it would not have applied even when prices hit all-time highs in August.

Wholesale gas prices rose to record highs above €300 per MWh — the equivalent of more than $500 a barrel in oil terms — over the summer after Russia cut supplies through its largest route to western Europe, the Nord Stream 1 line to Germany.

Anna Moskwa, Poland’s minister for climate and environment, described it as “a kind of joke” and said discussions on other measures to ease the energy prices should be put off until a cap had been agreed.

“It is winter. We need to discuss the gas price cap,” she said on Thursday.

The cap would only be triggered if prices for month-ahead contracts on the benchmark Dutch TTF futures market exceeded that level for two consecutive weeks and if the price was €58 higher than that of liquefied natural gas for 10 consecutive days.

At least seven countries including Italy and Greece have threatened to veto a set of other proposals designed to ease energy costs, such as a joint purchasing mechanism, unless the structure of the price cap is revised.

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