The members of the European Union reached an agreement on the eighth package of sanctions against Russia, which also includes the legal basis for the introduction of a price cap for Russian oil. Slovenian Minister Bojan Kumer is convinced that this measure is necessary.
The member states must finally confirm the sanctions after a written procedure, the new measures have been agreed upon by the ambassadors of the member states to the EU for now.
Among other things, the sanctions include the legal basis for the introduction of a price cap for Russian oil. It should apply only to the maritime transport of crude oil and certain derivatives to third countries and certain services related thereto. An agreement in principle on setting a price cap for Russian oil for third countries was already reached within the G7 group, which was also mentioned by the President of the European Commission during the presentation of the proposal for sanctions Ursula von der Leyen.
The new package of sanctions will also include a ban on the import of additional Russian products. Brussels also proposes to expand the list of products whose export to Russia is prohibited. The EU will also expand the list of individuals and legal entities subject to sanctions.
The EU decided on a new set of sanctions because of Russia’s escalation of aggression against Ukraine, after Moscow organized referendums on joining Russia in the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporozhye. Meanwhile, the annexation, which is not recognized by the international community, has already been implemented.
The European Union has so far adopted seven packages of sanctions against Russia for its attack on Ukraine, which began at the end of February. The last one, which includes, among other things, a ban on the import of Russian gold, was approved by the members in July.
Kumer: The cap is probably gradual
Slovenian Infrastructure Minister Bojan Kumer believes that intervention in the electricity market is necessary and the easiest way to achieve it is to introduce a wage ceiling for all natural gas. He is convinced that the cap will also be introduced in Slovenia, but gradually. First on Russian gas, then on other natural gas pipelines, then on liquefied natural gas (LNG), and only then will we achieve a firm cap on the price of all gas on the wholesale markets. He expects that to happen by the end of October.
In accordance with the European regulation, Slovenia will have to achieve a 10% saving in electricity. It will start on a voluntary basis, Kumer stated. If this is not sufficient, they will introduce “soft” measures, for example with external lighting in parking lots. They are also testing “flexible savings” in some subjects in electrical spikes. Reductions could be the last measure, but Kumer is convinced that this will not happen. This was shown by an exercise on electricity and gas that was recently carried out. “I’m looking forward to the winter,” he said.
During the day, his statement about the possible ban on the operation of ski resorts if there was not enough electricity to supply the population was echoed violently. In Odmevi, he emphasized that he made the statement after repeated requests to present an example of the worst scenario. But he is convinced that we will not come close to that.
Von der Leyen: The EU is ready to discuss the price cap for gas
In her speech in the European Parliament, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, emphasized that only a strong and firm Europe will stop the Russian president Vladimir Putin. She presented the planned measures regarding energy prices and added that the EU is ready to discuss the upper limit of the price of gas used to produce electricity.
In the European Union, it is necessary to limit the inflationary impact of gas on electricity prices, so we are ready to discuss the upper limit of the price of gas used for the production of electricity, she emphasized. According to her, this restriction, which would be temporary, would be the first step towards structural reform of the electricity market. “Such a gas price cap must be properly designed to ensure security of supply,” she said. According to her, gas prices should also be examined outside the electricity market.
The commission will also work with the member states to reduce uncertainty and the impact of price manipulations carried out by Russia, the president of the commission emphasized. In addition, she announced intensified negotiations with reliable partners such as Norway and called for the establishment of an energy platform for joint gas purchases in the EU to lower energy prices. In doing so, she emphasized that it is necessary to avoid a scenario in which member states will once again compete with each other on world markets, which would increase the price of gas.
“Two things remain the most important in our action: it is united and solidary action,” von der Leyen said. The measures taken by EU countries must “maintain equal competitive conditions within the Union”she added at the end.
According to the president of the commission, the EU has so far established key instruments to survive the winter and to solve the dependence on Russian gas, these measures provide the first level of protection. The EU will thus be able to move to the next level of measures, she said, citing the RePowerEU plan to eliminate dependence on Russian fossil fuels.
The main speaker of the commission Eric Mamer later clarified that the price cap idea mentioned by the President was related to the trading of gas in Europe on wholesale markets and not directly to the price paid for imported gas. At the same time, he admitted “the connection between the price of gas traded in Europe and the price of gas we buy from outside”.
Von der Leyen wrote to the leaders
President von der Leyen explained the proposals that she presented to the MEPs in the morning in more detail in her letter today to the leaders of the EU member states, who will meet on Friday at an informal meeting in Prague, where one of the central topics will be measures to cope with the energy cost.
As, among other things, in connection with the gas price ceiling, she wrote in the letter, such a price cap agreed in the EU should be designed in such a way that it would not increase the total consumption of gas. Such a measure requires binding gas-saving measures to compensate for weaker price signals and to protect cross-border flows of subsidized electricity.
In the debate on Russia’s escalation of the war in Ukraine, MEPs emphasized the importance of EU unity in taking measures and called for even tougher sanctions against Russia, while some also called for the EU to provide Ukraine with even more weapons. They also emphasized the importance of solidarity in the energy crisis.
The coming winter will be a big test for the EU, which it has to pass successfully, which will require unity, he said Manfred Weber (EPP). He warned that it is also necessary to oppose the populists in the Union, who have only one goal, that is to weaken the EU. Ukraine needs weapons, including tanks, he said, and supported a new package of sanctions and financial aid to Ukraine.
She also supported the new package of sanctions against Russia Iratxe Garcia Perez (S & D) and emphasized the importance of a unified response. That is why, according to her, it is necessary to isolate as much as possible those European leaders who smile at Putin, because he will continue to persist with attempts at discord in the EU.
He also called for overcoming disagreements in the Union Petras Auštrevičius (Renew). Ukraine needs help, now is the right time to decide on its future, because European security is also at stake. Ukraine’s membership in NATO plays a key role in this, cooperation and partnership must be established, he added.
He called for even tougher measures against Russia Sergey Lagodinsky (Greens), who called on the commission and its members to include members of the Duma on the list of sanctions.
If Europe wants to continue helping Ukraine, it must be ensured that the burden of the measures will not be on the shoulders of European citizens and companies, warned Marco Zanni (ID).