EU member states yesterday approved a mechanism to cap wholesale gas prices as soon as they exceed 180 euros/MWh for three consecutive days, according to a statement from the European Council.
This capping mechanism, adopted by the EU after several weeks of tough discussions, will only be activated at a price level at least 35 euros higher than the average international price of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
European energy ministers, hold a meeting in Brussels, and "have reached an important agreement which will protect citizens from soaring energy prices, with a realistic and effective mechanism, which includes the necessary guarantees for the security of the supply and stability of financial markets," said Czech Minister Jozef Sikela, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency.
Of the 27 member states, only Hungary voted against. The Netherlands and Austria abstained. Germany, which has always been reluctant towards a cap, therefore finally voted in favor.
As of last spring, Belgium had profiled itself as one of the most ardent Member States in favor of a form of gas price cap, along with Italy, Greece, Spain and Poland.