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Friday, December 9, 2022

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    EU energy ministers’ emergency meeting kicks off

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    Since “there is no time to lose” in this challenging situation, the European Union needs to respond to the energy crisis “swiftly and unifiedly,” the deputy prime minister of the Czech Republic said on Friday.

    Sikela, who is also the Czech Republic’s minister of trade and industry, spoke with reporters on the way to the emergency meeting of EU energy ministers he called last week to address the crisis of the region’s rising energy prices.

    Sikela argued that because there is a greater demand for energy than there is supply, “we are in an energy war with Russia because (President Vladimir) Putin is manipulating the gas market.” Sikela added that this “serious crisis” threatens “our way of life and also attacks our economy.”

    Sikela anticipates that the EU energy ministers will “be able to narrow down the set of the list of the measures” in order to direct the European Commission to present and swiftly pass a legal draught.

    If it does, the EU executive body “will have clarity by the end of the month” and “a proposal within days,” he added.

    The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, unveiled a “non-paper” on Wednesday in which she proposed reducing energy companies’ revenues and redistributing their surplus profit to assist vulnerable households during the energy transition as well as to provide utility companies with immediate liquidity support.

    The executive body of the EU also recommended capping the price of Russian gas, which caused disagreement among EU members.

    While Hungary vigorously opposes the idea, insisting that Russia would shut off the gas taps if the bloc refused to pay at the market price, Belgium is adamant about capping the price of gas from all suppliers.

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