Prime Ministers of Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece meet on Friday at a mini “Mediterranean summit” in Rome to find a consensus on reforming European energy markets and reducing energy prices, official sources told EURACTIV’s partner EFE.
Spain’s Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, will meet his counterparts from Italy, Mario Draghi, and Portugal, Antonio Costa. The sources confirmed that Greece’s Kyriakos Mitsotakis will participate by videoconference after testing positive for COVID-19.
The escalation of the war in Ukraine will also be on the agenda.
The four countries plan to define key objectives for the EU to take urgent action, given the precarious situation facing the transport, agriculture and other sectors due to sharp rises in electricity and fuel prices.
“Italy’s plan is based on three elements: the setting of a maximum price for gas, the implementation of a common storage system and the implementation of (energy) purchases at EU level,” sources from the Italian government told EFE.
Italy is almost totally dependent on gas. Rome imports 90% of its annual supplies, and 45% of it comes from Russia, which is why the government advocates imposing a “ceiling” on the price.
Draghi is also in favour of establishing joint storage systems and buying gas jointly by the EU, which would mean greater contractual strength and lower prices compared with country-by-country purchases.
Sánchez agrees with his Italian counterpart on the need to cap energy prices and make centralised purchases while also advocating decoupling electricity prices from gas prices, speeding up the renewables strategy and encouraging Spain’s gas interconnections to provide security and autonomy to the EU.
The meeting in Rome is part of Sánchez’s tour to several EU countries ahead of next week’s EU Council. On Monday, the Spanish PM met in Madrid with Croatia’s Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, and in Bratislava with Slovakia’s Eduard Heger. He also plans to travel to Romania, Germany and Ireland in the coming days.
(Fernando Heller | EuroEFE.EURACTIV.es)