The EU will propose a joint gas supply in response to high energy prices, according to a document

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The European Commission will propose a system under which EU countries will co-supply gas in order to build strategic reserves from it, a measure designed in response to rising energy prices, according to a document shared with member states ahead of this week’s summit.

The European gas prices hit record highs in October amid limited supply and high demand from economies around the world recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Prices have fallen from these highs but in recent weeks have been rising again amid low winter temperatures and lower-than-expected imports from Russia.

Rising energy prices have resulted in governments struggling to find subsidies and tax breaks to protect consumers from high bills, and have led to calls from some countries for a European shared gas supply system.

The proposal to update the rules of the European gas market, which the Commission is expected to make public on Wednesday, will create such a system.

“The proposals include the establishment of a framework for the joint procurement of strategic gas stocks by entities within a regulatory framework, on a voluntary basisThe Commission said in a document released to the countries ahead of the EU summit on Thursday, which was seen by Reuters.

The system “will contribute to measures, coordinated at EU level, in the event of a pan-European emergency,” he said.

In the document it is not confirmed how the co-procurement system will work in practice, but is said to be part of Brussels’ efforts to strengthen European gas storage systems.

“Member States, through joint cooperation at regional level, are expected to be able to rely on stocks in other countries in case of need,” the document said.

Lower-than-expected volumes from Russia have led some EU countries and some lawmakers to call for an inquiry into whether Gazprom has withheld quantities to drive up gas prices in recent months.

The company said it had complied with all of its contractual obligations, with major customers saying they had not requested additional quantities.

Sources: ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ, Reuters

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