Strasbourg, France, Oct 18 (EFE).- The European Commission wants EU member states to jointly purchase at least 15% of the natural gas needed to fill storage facilities for the winter of 2023/24, it proposed on Tuesday.
This comes as a part of measures to tackle soaring energy prices.
Brussels believes that next winter could even be worse than this year’s and is working on a framework to start joint gas buying as early as April, a plan several EU states have been demanding since the end of 2021.
The proposal would require the mandatory participation of all member states in a centralized buying mechanism, through which at least 15% of each country’s storage obligations would be purchased.
Furthermore, gas-buying companies are free to set up purchasing consortia and take advantage of the collective bargaining power “to aggregate and purchase more than 15%.”
“We know that Europe’s energy demand is very large. So it is logical that, instead of outbidding each other, the member states and the energy companies should leverage their joint purchasing power,” European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said in a press conference.
The Commission also proposed new strategies to reduce non-essential gas use, such as outdoor heating, but without impacting vulnerable consumers who do not have room for further reductions.
EU leaders are scheduled to address high energy prices at a summit between Thursday and Friday in Brussels.EFE