The Hungarian Foreign Minister argued against the energy price cap at a Council meeting in Brussels. According to news reports, Member States have differing opinions about the initiative.
“Hungary does not support the introduction of the energy price cap in any way, as it would increase prices and risk security of supply,” Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó said at the Extraordinary Energy Council meeting in Brussels on Friday.
According to the Minister, four of the five proposals of the European Commission could play a role in tackling the energy crisis, some of which Hungary is already implementing.
One is the proposal on electricity savings, which Hungary has already indicated that it can only adopt on a voluntary basis. The second is the restriction on electricity producers who do not use natural gas, which means separating the price of natural gas from the price of electricity. The solidarity contribution on fossil fuels has been implemented in Hungary through the extra profit tax. The fourth proposal is to improve the liquidity of energy markets.
The fifth proposal is the energy price cap, which would maximize the price of natural gas imported into the EU. “Excluding a specific source of natural gas is quite simply absurd. The price cap would squeeze Russian gas out of the European market, and this is unacceptable,” Szijjártó said, reminding that “Gazprom and the Russian government have made it clear that they will not supply gas anymore in the event of a price cap.” “Cutting the continent off from Russian gas on political grounds is a sanction,” Szijjártó stressed. “They are disguising it as a price cap because unanimity is needed to adopt sanctions, and that is what they want to avoid,” he added.
“At the beginning of the sanctions policy, Brussels promised that they would work, but the war has not stopped, and energy has not become cheaper,” the Minister explained.
According to Szijjártó, other Member States have also spoken out against the energy price cap- nine in total- so Hungary is not alone in its opinion.
The Financial Times wrote that “Brussels is facing pressure from at least 10 EU countries – including Poland, Greece, and Italy – to implement a cap on gas prices for all suppliers.” According to the article, “…officials said enforcing a price cap on Russian gas would probably require unanimous approval from all 27 EU states because it would be treated as a bloc sanction. A general gas price cap could be passed with a qualified majority. Hungary, Austria, and the Netherlands have voiced reservations about an overall cap.”
Poland’s Climate Minister, Anna Moskwa, on the other hand, claimed that twelve countries supported the energy price cap “very strongly.” Three others expressed their interest in this idea and Hungary is the only country that opposed it.
Featured photo via Facebook/Szijjártó Péter