The European Union needs a “swift and unified” response to the energy crisis since “there is no time to lose” in this difficult situation, Jozef Sikela, the Czech deputy prime minister said on Friday.
Sikela, who also serves as the trade and industry minister of the Czech Republic, spoke to reporters on the way to the extraordinary meeting of EU ministers in charge of energy affairs that he convened last week to tackle the crisis of the rising energy prices in the bloc.
“We are in energy war with Russia because (President Vladimir) Putin is manipulating the gas market,” Sikela asserted, pointing out that this “serious crisis” threatens “our way of life and also attacks our economy” because there is higher energy demand than supply.
Sikela expects EU energy ministers to “be able to narrow down the set of the list of the measures” so that they could mandate the European Commission to present a legal draft and adopt it as soon as possible.
If it happens, the EU executive body can come up with a “proposal within days and we’ll have clarity by the end of the month,” he added.
On Wednesday, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission revealed a so-called non-paper, proposing to cut revenues of energy firms and redistribute their extra profit to support vulnerable households and energy transition, as well as to provide immediate liquidity support for utility firms.
The EU executive body also suggested capping the price of Russian gas that divided EU member states.
While Belgium insists on limiting the gas price from all suppliers, Hungary strongly opposes the proposal, arguing that Russia would close the gas taps if the bloc refuses to pay at the market price.