Gas meter (archive image): What can be done against rising prices?
Photo: Rene Traut / IMAGO
In the opinion of the EU Commission, European households and companies should be protected from the rapidly rising energy prices as quickly as possible.
Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson presented a so-called »toolbox« with tools that EU countries can use without violating European competition rules.
Among other things, the Commission proposes direct payments, tax breaks and subsidies for small businesses.
But it is also considering medium-term reforms to make the European energy market more robust in the long term.
"It is important to support vulnerable citizens and European companies while we come out of the pandemic and start the recovery," Simson said.
"The Commission is helping Member States take immediate action to mitigate the consequences for citizens and businesses this winter."
The »Toolbox« also contains possible measures against future price fluctuations.
The Brussels authority wants to take a closer look at a proposal for joint gas purchases and gas reserves.
One wants to examine "potential advantages".
The construction of the European energy market is also to be examined carefully.
But the plans are far from being dry: The medium-term measures of the »Toolbox« are to be discussed at an EU summit at the end of next week.
Federal government sees no gas bottlenecks
Meanwhile, the federal government rejected fears of gas bottlenecks in the upcoming winter.
"The security of supply in Germany is still high," said a spokeswoman for the Federal Ministry of Economics on Wednesday in Berlin.
"We don't see any bottlenecks at the moment." The demand in the market is being met.
Nevertheless, the situation is being monitored continuously.
Gas prices in Europe are currently reaching new record highs.
The reasons for this are increasing global demand and low stocks.
Europe-wide, the warehouses are currently only 77 percent full, according to experts, stocks of over 90 percent should be available at this time of the year.
According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, gas storage levels in Germany are also currently 75 percent.
That was "admittedly still lower than in previous years," said the spokeswoman.
The stocks increased slowly, however.
In addition, with a level of this type in the winter of 2015 and 2016, "no bottlenecks" were observed.
In addition, simply looking at the fill levels is not the only indication that the total in Germany is "very high".
Recently, the accusation has repeatedly been in the room that Russia is deliberately reducing its deliveries in order to exert political pressure.
The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is currently still going through the certification process at the Federal Network Agency, only then can it start commercial operation.
According to the Kremlin, the state gas company Gazprom is currently supplying the maximum of the currently contractually agreed amount.
"Nothing can be delivered beyond the contracts," said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
Every increase has to be negotiated with the company - and that is certainly not in vain.
mic / dpa / AFP / Reuters