EU leaders gather to show solidarity, things go not as planned

The leaders of the 27 EU countries are once again looking at the sky-high energy prices. This time they do so unofficially with their legs on the table, in the hope of breaking free of the sharp contradictions between, for example, the Netherlands and Germany and in particular southern EU countries. At the same time, they feel the impatience of citizens and businesses in the pinch.

The Netherlands and Germany still do not want a European maximum price for gas. This has already caused the annoyance of member states such as Italy, Greece and Belgium. But they are now also accused of selfishness and solism now that capital-strong Berlin and The Hague with many billions relieve the energy bills of households and entrepreneurs. Countries that cannot afford it complain about unfair competition and lack of solidarity.

The heavy, ongoing pressure of the energy crisis does bring movement. The advocates of a price ceiling are now in the majority. The European Commission, which has long been just as critical as the Netherlands and Germany, says it now sees room for this. The commission wants to get started with a maximum price for gas that generates electricity and hints that it would like to go even further.

The Netherlands wants to list’ the pluses and minuses ‘ of the former at the EU summit in Prague, said Prime Minister Rutte on Thursday. But he remains wary of deterring suppliers, who will potentially forward their LNG tankers to better-paying customers. The Netherlands is mainly aiming to jointly purchase gas, in order to be able to negotiate a lower price.