Business & Economy

Von der Leyen hints EU may decouple gas, electricity prices

Riga, Latvia, Oct 5 (EFE).- European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said Tuesday that the European Union could look at “decoupling” the price of electricity from that of natural gas in order to stem rising energy prices across Europe.

Speaking in the Estonian capital Tallinn, Von der Leyen said that EU leaders would “discuss (…) how to deal with (energy) storage, a strategic reserve, and we will have a look at the overall price composition of the electricity market, because if electricity prices are high, it is because of high gas prices and we have to look into the possibility to decouple within the market, because we have much cheaper energy, like for example in renewables.”

She noted that “we have high (electricity) prices because the price of gas is drastically rising. The price for renewables has been stable and it has dropped over the years.” The EC president emphasized that the EU was still “heavily dependent” on energy imports, with 90 percent of its gas supply imported and 97 percent of oil.

Gas prices were rising because of increasing demand related to economic recovery across the EU while supplies were not rising in step, Von der Leyen said, noting that the EU is “grateful that Norway is stepping up production” while gas supplies from Russia were unchanged.

The EC president was in Estonia to announce the approval of Estonia’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan, which will see 970 million euro ($1.125 billion) in EU funds paid to the smallest of three Baltic countries in coming years.

She praised Estonia for planning to invest 42 percent of the funds in “green objectives”, a rate higher than the 37 percent recommended by the EU and called Estonia a “world leader” in digital services, another goal of the EU-wide recovery plan.

Speaking at a joint press conference, Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said that the Recovery and Resilience Plan was closely aligned with the country’s own Estonia 2035 long-term goals and her government did not see EU funds as “free money” but rather investments to be wisely spent.

The EC president and Kallas arrived at the press conference venue in an autonomous, driverless bus and also examined plans for a new train station in the Estonian capital that will be a terminal for the multi-billion euro partly EU funded Rail Baltica project to build a high speed rail link from the Baltic countries to Western Europe. EFE


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