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Energy ministers to meet again in December to seek gas price cap deal

EU energy ministers will reconvene for another extraordinary Energy Council before Christmas — most likely on December 13 — amid widespread disapproval of Brussels’ gas price cap proposal.

Ministers gathered in Brussels for Thursday’s Energy Council reached an informal agreement on the less controversial elements of the Commission’s energy crisis package, but did not agree on a way forward on the so-called Market Correction Mechanism, four EU diplomats said.

An alliance of countries most vehemently opposed to the Commission’s proposal — Belgium, Spain, Italy, Poland and Greece — made clear that they would not formally agree to the wider package until the gas price cap issue had been resolved, two diplomats said.

That will require another extraordinary Energy Council, which three diplomats said is earmarked for December 13 — allowing any agreement to be signed off by EU leaders meeting on December 15 and 16.

The Commission’s proposed Market Correction Mechanism would involve a cap on the price of month-ahead trades at the main EU trading point the TTF, but only when prices exceed €275 per megawatt hour for two weeks and those prices are €58 above the global liquefied natural gas (LNG) price for 10 days.

The plan was lambasted by both sides of the debate. Countries in favor of a cap said it had been designed never to be used; while skeptical countries said the proposal risked undermining the bloc’s financial stability.

Ministers informally agreed on the Commission’s plans to speed up approval of renewables projects and on an energy crisis solidarity package that includes plans for joint purchasing of gas, solidarity measures to ensure exchange of gas supplies within the EU, and a new price benchmark for LNG.

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