Italian minister calls for EU to put price cap on all imported gas
The Italian minister of energy calls for the European Union to impose a price cap on all gas imports, not just those coming from Russia.
The European Union introducing a price cap only for the already diminishing Russian gas exports all over Europe "makes no sense," Italian Minister for Ecological Transition Roberto Cingolani said, calling on Brussels to cap gas prices for exports across the board.
"Capping only Russian gas makes no sense. It is currently delivered to Europe in very small quantities," he said.
"In any case, we should give a signal to all producers. Europe imports three-quarters of pipeline natural gas. It is fair that it, as the world's largest buyer, should help set the price to protect businesses and citizens," Cingolani told Italian newspaper la Repubblica.
Rome is going to continue working in the coming days to ensure that the European Union adopts a broad price cap, the minister underlined.
The EU energy minister gave the European Commission on Friday a mandate to limit gas prices, Cingolani said, noting that the proposal was due in October.
Surging costs of power linked to gas prices have already stunted the production of various industries, such as fertilizers and aluminum manufacturers, and prompted EU governments, such as Germany, to increase their spending by billions in order to help their citizens.
Italy and Germany are now the two largest European countries most exposed to a gas supply shock due to their extensive use of natural gas and significant reliance on Russia, according to S&P Global Ratings.
Cingolani said following that meeting that 15 EU member states were in support of a common price cap for imported gas, while only three nations backed this measure for Russian gas only, and an additional five either opposed the idea or were neutral about it.
EU chief Ursula von der Leyen proposed on Wednesday that the bloc's 27 nations agree on placing a price cap on Russian gas imports.
Von der Leyen's decision comes as a means of imposing further sanctions on Russia as the West looks for more means of punishing the country over the Ukraine war.
"The objective here is very clear. We must cut Russia's revenues which (Russian leader Vladimir) Putin uses to finance this atrocious war against Ukraine," the president of the European Commission told reporters.
Just hours earlier, President Putin had said Russia would stop supplying oil and gas to countries that impose price ceilings.
Capping prices, as some Western countries are considering, "would be an absolutely stupid decision," Putin told the Eastern Economic Forum in the Pacific port city of Vladivostok.
The G7 industrialized nations pledged last week to work quickly to establish a price cap on Russian oil imports in order to cut off a key source of funding for Moscow's military activity in Ukraine.
In response to rising European energy prices ahead of winter, Putin stated that Russia would not deliver anything outside of current contracts.