The Czech prime minister said Friday the EU presidency held by his country would convene urgent talks to deal with the current energy crisis following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Czech presidency “will convene an urgent meeting of energy ministers to discuss specific emergency measures to address the energy situation,” Prime Minister Petr Fiala said on Twitter.
Approved by European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen, the move comes as the 27-nation bloc is trying to shed dependence on supplies of Russian oil and gas following the Ukraine invasion that began on February 24.
Reduced supplies and anxiety over the future have sparked rocket growth in energy prices across Europe.
Czech Industry and Trade Minister Jozef Sikela said the EU Energy Council should meet “at the earliest possible date”.
“We are in an energy war with Russia and it is damaging the whole EU,” he said on Twitter.
On Friday, Germany and France reported record electricity prices for 2023 as the year-ahead contracts jumped to 850 euros ($850) per megawatt hour in Germany and to more than 1,000 euros in France from 85 euros in both countries last year.
The European Commission is planning to cut EU dependency on Russian gas by two-thirds this year and end its reliance on Russian supplies of the fuel before 2030.
– ‘Pan-European problem’ –
Heavily dependent on gas imports from Russia, the Czech Republic vowed to make energy security its priority during its EU presidency which started on July 1.
Sikela said earlier the energy market had ceased to function properly amid the cut in Russian supplies.
“To some extent, the market has gotten out of control, market volatility no longer responds to good news, while the bad news is accumulating and it is pushing prices up,” Sikela said.
“It’s a problem of the entire Europe and of course if you have the European market and a pan-European problem, the easiest way to look for a solution is on the pan-European level,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
Among possible solutions, Sikela mentioned price ceilings and the diversification of prices depending on the type of energy production.
The EU has targeted the Russian energy sector in its sanctions, banning coal imports from Russia.
Its plan to cut gas consumption across the bloc by 15 percent to cope with the energy price crisis came into effect earlier this month.
The aim is for the EU to be able to bolster its reserves of gas in time for what is likely to be a very tough winter.
Some member countries, however, have had carve-outs from strictly following the rule as they are too dependent on Russian supplies. (AFP)