The Daily Telegraph

EU backs off Russian price cap after threat from Putin

- By Tom Rees

EU MINISTERS have stopped short of a price cap on Russian gas, following threats from Vladimir Putin to cut off supply in retaliatio­n for any such move.

Proposals to cap the price of energy imports that fund the Kremlin’s war machine were sidelined following opposition from some member states.

Mr Putin had warned he would completely halt energy supplies if a cap was imposed. Several countries exposed to a sudden shut-off, including Hungary, suggested they could not support the EU’S plan as a result. The proposal was ultimately dropped in the emergency talks. However, EU energy ministers did agree to a raid on energy giants and to provide help for power firms hit by volatile markets.

Ministers asked the European Commission to draw up more detailed plans to cushion the blow to households by targeting the excess profits of fossil fuel giants and non-gas electricit­y producers that are capitalisi­ng on soaring energy prices.

The EU’S executive arm was also instructed to prepare proposals for a broader price cap, not just targeting Russia, and a plan to grease the wheels of strained energy markets. Power producers are pleading for emergency liquidity support as they struggle to meet the huge collateral requiremen­ts needed to secure contracts for insuring against wild price swings.

Details of the plans are expected to be published next week and the proposals could be given the green light by EU members later this month.

Gas prices in the region slipped almost 8pc to €205 (£178) per megawatt hour yesterday as the EU stepped up its efforts to tackle the issue.

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