Czechs are considering using the EU presidency to convene a summit on energy prices

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People look at a statue of a hand with fingernails painted in the colors of Ukraine’s national flag marking Ukraine’s Independence Day in front of the Russian Embassy in Prague, Czech Republic August 24, 2022. REUTERS/David W Cerny

PRAGUE: The Czech Republic, which holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, is considering whether to convene an emergency energy summit for the bloc to address rising energy prices, including discussing price caps, a government minister said on Wednesday.

The EU is facing record highs in energy prices, which means governments are scrambling to find ways to help households and businesses feel the effects.

“The market is to some extent out of control, market volatility no longer reacts to good news and only bad news is piling up and driving up prices,” Czech Industry Minister Jozef Sikela was quoted as saying by CTK news agency on Wednesday.

“It’s a problem across Europe, and if you have a European market and a European problem, then of course the easiest solution is to find it at European level.”
Sikela said that setting a maximum energy price at European level would be a possible measure and that the Czech Republic would support it if the EU decided to look into it.

The Czech Ministry of Industry was not immediately available for comment.

Europe is facing a sharp rise in electricity bills, driven by skyrocketing gas prices as Russia has reduced the amount of gas it sends to Europe and prices have risen amid mounting fears Moscow is using the rivers in retaliation for Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine will further cut .

Russian gas giant Gazprom says it is a reliable supplier and has attributed recent cuts in gas flows to technical problems with its Nord Stream 1 pipeline.
The Czech government is introducing a reduced energy tariff for households, while other EU countries have also resorted to measures such as price caps or cash payments to help people hit by rising utility costs.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Wednesday EU countries should agree on a price cap for gas imports from Russia. Spain and Portugal have already capped local gas-based electricity prices, while France has capped electricity price increases.

The European Commission said this month it was “urgently examining the various options for introducing gas price caps” without specifying what such a cap would look like.
Brussels said it would consult EU member states on price caps and would come back with proposals in the autumn if they were needed.

The energy ministers of the EU countries are to meet for a summit as early as October.

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