The summit (probably in July) would be all about the Italian proposal for a “price cap”. The Dutch opposition could ease under the weight of a green light from Berlin
He arrives early in the morning for the work session on the Balkans, but the first appointment is with Emmanuel Macron. The two close in the hall of the Italian delegation, they remain there for 30 minutes, without any member of their respective staff. It goes without saying that they also talk about energy and price cap, but Mario Draghi won’t even do one debriefing to his collaborators. The confrontation with the French president is only made public in the afternoon.
When it starts the European Council the head of the government takes the floor, explicitly requests the convening of a ad hoc summit on the Italian proposal for a gas price cap, the hypothesis is that it will take place in July. In front of other leaders Macron openly supports him. What is surprising is the intervention of the German chancellor: he explicitly says that he has no objection to the matter, he is essentially a green light from Olaf Scholz. The hypothesis that was first launched by Italy, on which there is still no unanimous consensus, thus earns numerous points. The president of the Consiglioor Charles Michel seems to close a circle that has been worked on in the last few days: “Sounds like a good idea to me“.
Draghi’s diplomatic pressing has reached the highest level. The position of the Germans is the result of a direct dialogue, in recent days, between Palazzo Chigi and the German government. Before the arrival of the head of the Italian government in Brussels, the Minister of Ecological Transition Roberto Cingolani hears the German Vice-Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck, in a phone call that EU diplomatic sources define as “alignment“. A dynamic that for our diplomacy began a week ago, during the train journey to Kiev, when Draghi and Scholz, with the French president, made it two in the morning.
In the afternoon another piece is added, Draghi asked for an extraordinary summit, but at the same time he let a Ursula von der Leyen that a Commission proposal on the price cap is desirable as soon as possible. In short, first the Commission proposal, then the summit that should consider it. News from EU countries reinforces the prime minister’s position, the growing difficulties of individual energy marketsGazprom’s constant or increasing cuts to direct supplies to the Unionthe urgency to somehow halt a spiral with unpredictable outcomes for Europe.
The Dutch opposition remains standing. Mark Rutte, the head of the Dutch government, explains his position as follows: “We are not against it on principle but, based on the evidence we have, we think it might not work.” At the previous summits, the leaders have “agreed to examine it, we have also asked the industry and experts on the matter, it is being evaluated”, added Rutte. But it is a position that does not appear inscrutable, it can change, under the weight of a green light from Berlin.
In the meantime we are working on the conclusions that will be approved today. Italy insists on another explicit mention after the one in May, which mandated the European Commission to prepare a proposal on a temporary price cap on Russian gas. The point in question indicates that “in the light of Russia’s use of energy as a weapon, recalling the conclusions of May 30-31, the European Council invites the Commission to pursue its efforts to ensure an affordable energy supply“. In the conclusions of the summit of 30-31 May, reference was made, among the possibilities, to the introduction of a ceiling on the price of gas. For the Greek premier Kyriakos Mitsotakis, publicly sided with the Italian premier, is a dossier that must have top priority. In the Italian delegation present at the European Council they believe us: «In July we plan to close, we can do it». For sure Draghi is sparing no effort; it will also be discussed with the Americans, in Elmau, Bavaria, on Sunday and Monday, during the G7.
June 23, 2022 (change June 23, 2022 | 23:15)
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