December 05
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The European Commission plans to discuss the possibility of introducing a price cap on natural gas, Bloomberg reported, citing a document that will be presented to member states on Wednesday.

The European Commission is under pressure from 27 EU governments to put forward proposals to curb an unprecedented energy crisis that is fueling inflation and threatening to trigger a recession. But while some EU countries want to put a ceiling on gas prices, the commission is cautious about such a decision, arguing that it needs more time to assess the impact on fuel demand and security of supply in the region.

A commission action plan detailing future steps to lower gas prices, reduce volatility and increase trading on energy markets, tentatively scheduled for Sept. 28, has been pushed back to a later date, possibly next week, EU diplomats said.

Instead, the commission on Wednesday will discuss in a more technical document whether price caps can be imposed.

Earlier this month, the EU executive told member states that new measures planned to lower the price of gas would address concerns about security of supply, aim to prevent any increase in gas demand, and support the domestic market. All of these issues have been raised over the past few months by opponents of price caps on imports or wholesale markets.

The gas price cap document will first be discussed by representatives of national governments in Brussels on Sept. 28, and then energy ministers will consider it at an extraordinary meeting on Sept. 30. The package includes a contingency fee, a price cap on cheaper electricity and a binding goal to reduce electricity demand. Further measures to improve liquidity, reduce volatility and lower gas prices will come later.

According to officials, a group of at least 10 member states, including Poland and Greece, plan to urge the commission to propose a price ceiling on all wholesale natural gas transactions as soon as possible.

The energy crisis will also be a key topic at the informal meeting of EU leaders in Prague on Oct. 7 and the quarterly summit scheduled for Oct. 20-21 in Brussels.

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