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Von der Leyen: Commission has ‘started work’ on broad gas price cap

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday the EU executive has “started work” on a “temporary” measure to cap gas prices across the bloc.

“We are ready to discuss a cap on the price of gas that is used to generate electricity,” she told MEPs in Strasbourg. “But we also have to look at gas prices beyond the electricity market.”

Von der Leyen said she planned to “lay out a roadmap” on tackling energy prices in a letter to EU leaders, who are expected to discuss energy issues at an informal summit in Prague on Friday.

The Commission chief’s comments come amid growing pressure from EU capitals. Last week, a group of 15 countries penned a letter to the Commission urging it to set out a price cap on gas imports to the bloc.

Energy ministers from at least four EU countries — Italy, Greece, Belgium and Poland — are expected to meet Wednesday to hash out a joint approach to present to the Commission ahead of Friday’s meeting, three diplomats told POLITICO.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said Wednesday’s speech marked “an important step forward” but cautioned it “has to lead to something concrete in the coming days in Prague.” Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Teresa Ribera also welcomed von der Leyen’s comments, saying they were “very much in line” with Madrid’s position.

Von der Leyen also said she planned to “step up” bilateral negotiations with EU energy partners and to “strengthen” the EU’s joint energy purchasing efforts.

America Hernandez and Wilhelmine Preussen contributed reporting.

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