Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis repeated a call for European action to cap gas prices in an article published by Bloomberg on Monday, in which he accused Russia of having “weaponized energy”.
While such a cap carried risks, he said, Europe must “take back control of its gas market and cannot afford to let Russia use its market institutions against it, while he warned that “the dangers of inertia compound” as winter approaches.
The full article by the Greek prime minister is given below:
“After months of deliberation and deflection, it is time for Europe to place a cap on natural gas prices. Russia has weaponized energy, its clear aim to destabilize our societies. Fifteen member states have clearly expressed their support for capping prices. Europe should take back control of its gas market
In normal times, governments must let markets work. But these are not normal times. Russia is reneging on contracts and deliberately restricting supply. When one player can move prices, there is no sense in “ letting markets function.” Governments are supposed to structure and police markets. Confronted with clear market manipulation, government intervention is not just justified but required.
As prices increase to unprecedented levels, the market has ceased to function. Liquidity has dried up and volatility has spiked, creating huge opportunities for suppliers and speculators to profit from sharp movements in price. Major energy companies are coming under duress, seeking government help. No household, company or government can plan around or manage a market where prices move up or down randomly.
In the first quarter of 2022, according to official estimates, the European Union paid an extra € 62 billion to import gas relative to the previous year. The final tally for 2022 will run in the hundreds of billions, trillions if one includes the knock-on effects in the electricity market and the economy at large. Meanwhile, Russia’s current account surplus has tripled to over $ 180 billion through August 2022, Mitsotakis wrote among others.