The Czech Republic wants to remove capping Russian gas prices from the agenda of an extraordinary European energy ministers’ meeting on Friday, Industry Minister Jozef Sikela said on Wednesday, calling it a political tool and not a solution.
EU energy ministers are set to discuss on Friday ways to tame energy prices which have surged as Russia has halted most gas flows to Europe in response to European sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Czechs are helping to guide discussions as holders of the EU’s rotating presidency.
Sikela told a Czech Senate committee on Wednesday the country would try to remove this option from the agenda of the energy ministers’ meeting, according to CTK news agency.
“It is not a constructive proposal, according to me. It is more another way to sanction Russia than an actual solution to the energy crisis in Europe,” CTK quoted Sikela as saying. “And we don’t want to prepare more sanctions now, but rather solve the situation with energy.”
The ministers will consider options including a price cap on imported gas, a price cap on gas used to produce electricity, or temporarily removing gas power plants from the current EU system of setting electricity prices.
Proposals will also include capping price of electricity made in non-gas power plants, and providing liquidity to power traders to cover margins they have to deposit amid market volatility.
The European Commission said on Monday a price cap on Russian pipeline gas would be part of its proposals. France is in favor of putting a cap on Russian gas, President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday blasted Europe’s idea for a price cap on Russian gas as “stupid,” and said it would lead to price rises and that global demand for Russian energy was high.