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Presidency of the Council of the European Union

11/24/2022 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/24/2022 12:39

Energy ministers in Brussels agree to launch joint gas purchases

The fourth extraordinary meeting of energy ministers convened during the Czech Presidency by Minister of Industry and Trade Jozef Síkela has been held in Brussels. The ministers discussed emergency measures that will help secure missing supplies of gas to the European Union (EU) market and thus contribute towards stabilising energy prices. The ministers also decided to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy.

"We succeeded in negotiating a sensitive agreement on a regulation that will launch a mechanism for joint gas purchases and strengthen solidarity measures in the event of a gas crisis, and also agreed on the form of a regulation to create a framework to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy that will shorten the time needed to build new capacities," said Minister of Industry and Trade Jozef Síkela, adding: "I plan on formally approving these measures as a package together with the newly proposed mechanism for capping gas prices at the next extraordinary Energy Council meeting, which I will convene on 13 December."

The ministers agreed on temporary emergency rules to accelerate the construction of renewable-energy power plants. These rules should promote the fastest possible development of renewables and help reduce the EU's dependency on fossil-fuel imports. The agreed measure will also include procedures and deadlines for issuing permits for solar, repowering and heat pump projects. Member States may adopt or retain permit procedures that are quicker than the deadlines proposed in the regulation, and may also apply the regulation to already submitted applications for permits where decisions have not yet been made.

Joint purchases of gas at EU level, mutual solidarity among states in the event of gas shortages, and better use of gas infrastructure, including LNG terminals, should help ensure sufficient gas for all Member States. The proposed regulation also includes mechanisms to prevent extreme market energy price volatility.

"The Czech Presidency is primarily about energy, as evidenced by the fourth extraordinary meeting of the Energy Council. What would at other times take months or years, Europe is now capable of resolving in a matter of weeks, something demonstrated again today," said Minister Síkela, adding that energy ministers will seek to secure sufficient energy for European Union citizens at affordable prices both for the coming weeks and in the future.

The meeting also included a working lunch to which Minister Síkela invited representatives of the Austrian and Czech Chambers of Commerce. There they discussed the impacts of high energy prices on the competitiveness of European industry.

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