EU row explodes as Macron sent stark warning over ‘risky’ plan to reform energy market

Macron is trying to 'save his skin in France' says Andrew Bolt

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France is reportedly pressuring the EU to revamp energy markets to cool down the volatile energy prices as the cost of gas and electricity surged amid a crisis. Paris is said to be in a state of panic, and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said last week that the price rises “jeopardise the social and economic sustainability of the energy transition”.

Mr Le Maire met with EU finance ministers last week where he demanded that more visibility be brought to the surging prices to protect consumers.

He said: “We want to protect consumers against this rise in energy costs, which for many households is unbearable.”

But France’s calls for change have not been welcomed with open arms.

Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni told a German newspaper on Sunday: “Hasty reforms in the energy markets are dangerous.

“Because of price increases, the political pressure is very high right now, but that should not lead to hasty reactions, also because the price development is probably only temporary.

“Otherwise, we run the risk of intervening with changes in a market that normally functions extremely well.”

France was not alone in the revolt against the EU, with Spain and Greece also backing calls for an overhaul to the EU energy market.

But while there was some backlash against current EU policy, most members of the block do feel more comfortable with tax cuts and subsidies that several countries have already introduced to protect consumers.

But Mr Macron has other ideas.

One proposal put forward by the French is for an “automatic stabiliser” to divert the profits made from soaring energy prices away from power producers and towards electricity suppliers and customers.

But nine EU countries, including Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands, have spoken against a reform.

Ahead of an emergency meeting of energy ministers to discuss the recent price spike in October, the nine nations opposed reform to EU electricity market.

Despite energy prices soaring to record highs across the bloc, with demand likely to increase as the winter approaches, the countries released a joint statement that booted away the proposals for reform.

It read that they “cannot support any measure that conflicts with the internal gas and electricity market”.

They added: “As the price spikes have global drivers, we should be very careful before interfering in the design of internal energy markets.

“This will not be a remedy to mitigate the current rising energy prices linked to fossil fuels markets.”

While those who signed the statement were in rejection of a complete overhaul to the system, they have instead argued for more measures to save energy and a target for a 15 percent interconnection of the EU electricity market by 2030.

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But this is not enough for EU rebels, and now, the split in opinion appears to be causing division in the bloc.

While Spain led the way in calls for joint gas purchases, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban dismissed those plans as a “utopian fantasy”.

Spain’s proposal for EU countries to jointly buy gas was shut down by Luxemburg too.

Energy Minister Claude Turmes said the “Spanish government is over promising by saying joint gas procurement will solve the crisis.”

Mr Gentiloni was also not too keen on those plans.

He said: “We have had good experiences with the joint EU purchase of Covid vaccinations, but gas deliveries are not Covid vaccinations.

“We have to negotiate with countries in North Africa, Norway and especially with Russia.

“We need a common European stance toward other countries, but translating that into joint procurement is not the obvious way forward.”

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