The joint gas purchase, being spearheaded by Spain and other Mediterranean countries, is in reaction to the 420 percent increase in natural gas prices on the bloc. The proposal, which is also being pushed by the European Comission, would see EU member states to stockpile an emergency “strategic reserve” of natural gas, in a similar style to the way the bloc acquired vaccines for its citizens. But Germany and the Netherlands have kicked back branding the move as a bad idea and believe the markets should be left to their own devices.
Speaking to Euronews on Thursday, Teresa Ribera, the Spanish minister for ecological transition and a major proponant of the plans said it was vital the bloc pushed ahead with the joint puchase.
She said: “Technically it is complicated because the states do not buy, the companies buy.”
She added: “But the creation of a pool that offers a certain guarantee of purchase for all.
“And that represents a sufficient volume for the countries it is sold as. It is a good idea!”
Ms Ribera said that while the joint purchase move “may not cover everything” she insisted “it may help create a minimum reserve” of gas available to all member states.
She concluded: “How was the vaccine crisis resolved? When we worked together in an orderly fashion.
“We’re much more efficient that way, and also much more reassuring.”
Despite the proposals, Germany and the Netherlands have furiously kicked back at the idea arguing that it is wrong of the EU to form a buying block as this would interfere with the markets.
It will see member state leaders attempt to coordinate their domestic approach to the crisis in line with the EU’s response, while also trying to work out a way to not disrupt the market energy market.
Ms Ribera added: “The EU should emerge strengthened with an energy policy much more orientated towards a common [European] approach.
“And not just simply a set of rules to govern the functioning of the market.”
While Ms Simson has suggested temporary solutions such as direct income support for vulnerable households, subsidies for struggling companies and tax reductions in the final bill in response to the crisis.