President Klaus Iohannis participated in Brussels in a meeting of the European Council, where he underscored the need for a coordinated and fast European approach to secure sustainable cuts in energy prices, according to Agerpres.
„President Klaus Iohannis argued during the meeting that a coordinated and fast European approach is needed to secure sustainable cuts in energy prices. He voiced his appreciation for the new set of measures worked out by the European Commission to improve the level of energy prices, showing that they also meet the elements requested by Romania, while being a considerable step forward that will require further consolidation. The President of Romania also showed that an approach is necessary that aims at both short-term actions to keep prices in check, as well as a long-term, future-oriented approach,” according to the Romanian Presidential Administration.
Regarding the immediate measures, Iohannis welcomed the creation of the necessary framework for joint European procurement on a voluntary basis so that the EU’s share in the negotiations can be used, which leads to obtaining better prices for final consumers. He emphasised the need for this mechanism to be designed in such a way that it is effectively accessible to all parties interested in it.
The President voiced general support for the measures aimed at cutting natural gas prices, saying that setting up a dynamic price corridor can provide a useful tool for managing price peaks, while maintaining the competitiveness of the market. He also pointed to decoupling of electricity and natural gas prices by reforming the electricity market, as the European Commission announced its intention to put forth concrete scenarios in this sense.
Regarding the long-term approach, Iohannis mentioned the importance of preparing for the future through investment in infrastructure, interconnections and the development of new energy sources, all of which require adequate funding, with the aim of securing a sufficient amount of energy at affordable prices for consumers while preserving the competitiveness of European industry. He said that Romania encourages the development of new energy sources, mentioning the exploitation potential of the Black Sea gas reserves.
European leaders discussed energy in connection with the economic situation and coordination measures to ensure the resilience of European economies. In the face of Russia’s weaponisation of energy, the European Union will remain united to protect its citizens and businesses and take the necessary measures as a matter of urgency according to the press statement.
The European leaders requested the Council of the European Union and the European Commission to adopt as urgently as possible legislative decisions that take into account the different energy mixes, the national circumstances of the member states, as well as their impact on the existing contracts.
A first decision concerns voluntary joint purchases of gas, except for binding demand aggregation for 15% of storage filling needs, according to national needs, exploiting the Union’s collective market weight and making full use of the EU Energy Platform.
Other decisions regard a new complementary price benchmark by early 2023 that more accurately reflects conditions on the gas market, as well as a temporary dynamic price corridor on natural gas transactions to immediately limit episodes of excessive gas prices, taking into account the safeguards set out in a proposed Council regulation. Also, a temporary EU framework to cap the price of gas in electricity generation, including a cost-and-benefit analysis; improvements to the functioning of energy markets to increase market transparency, alleviate liquidity stress, eliminate factors that amplify the volatility of gas prices and preserve financial stability to boost the development of renewable sources, as well as identifying energy solidarity measures in case of gas supply disruptions at national, regional or the EU level, in the absence of bilateral solidarity agreements.
All the relevant tools at national and EU levels will be mobilised to enhance the resilience of the European economies and preserve Europe’s global competitiveness energy solidarity measures to strengthen the termination of the economies, with the maintenance of the competitiveness of the European Union at the global level, fair competition conditions and the integrity of the single market. The European Council expressed its commitment to close coordination and highlighted the importance of common solutions at the European level, where appropriate, said the Presidential Administration.
In addition, European leaders reiterated the need to step up investment in energy efficiency and future-proof energy infrastructure, including interconnections, natural gas storage and innovative renewable energy technologies. The European Council invited the European Commission to accelerate the work on the structural reform of the electricity market and requested additional progress regarding the Energy Union.
Discussions in the European Council also covered the latest developments in relation to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, including its consequences in Ukraine and elsewhere. The external relations of the European Union were also discussed, with an emphasis on the preparation of the future EU – Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, the relationship with China and the preparations for the 27th Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention of the UN on Climate Change in Sharm El-Sheikh (COP27).