Polish Climate Minister Anna Moskwa said Warsaw was ready to vote in a minority over other EU countries to adopt a gas price cap if capitals could not find common ground, even if she preferred to “avoid” the scenario.
EU energy ministers meeting in Brussels on Thursday failed to formally adopt the European Commission’s energy emergency package after an alliance of countries – including Poland – said they would not adopt it. would not accept until capitals agree on the way forward on a gas price cap proposal.
The Commission’s proposal, presented on Tuesday, was lambasted on both sides of the debate: countries in favor of a cap said it was designed never to be triggered; while skeptical countries said the proposal risked undermining the bloc’s financial stability.
The Czech Presidency has convened another emergency Energy Council before Christmas, most likely on December 13, to seek consensus on a revamped proposal that can be approved by EU leaders meeting on December 15-16.
In an interview after Thursday’s summit, Moskwa told POLITICO she “sees no reason why we can’t find a compromise” before the deadline, and that she was “open” to compromising on a exact figure for the ceiling.
But she stressed that if consensus was not possible, Poland would have no qualms about adopting the proposal by supermajority – a process that involves 15 of 27 countries voting in favour, or the support of countries representing the less than 65% of the total EU population.
The adoption of a gas price cap by this mechanism would mean the absolute opposition of countries which are skeptical about the imposition of any price cap – such as Germany, Denmark, Austria, Hungary and the Netherlands.
Although Poland “wants to avoid” such a scenario, she said, “qualified majority voting is European law and many very important decisions have been made like that.”
Warsaw is also unhappy with the direction of negotiations on a G7 proposal on Russian oil price caps. Alliance members are mulling a cap of $65-70 a barrel, but Poland – alongside Estonia – wants a much lower cap, reportedly as low as $30 a barrel.
Moskwa said Warsaw was ‘not very or totally committed’ to that figure, but the price ‘must be as low as possible’ and as close to Russia’s production costs ‘as possible’ to secure a profit minimal.