EU agrees ‘roadmap’ to contain energy prices

EU leaders on Oct. 21 reached agreement on a "roadmap" aimed at putting in place measures within weeks to shield European consumers from soaring energy prices.

The accord came after 11 hours of wrangling over broad proposals to lower energy bills as gas prices pushed skywards by the war in Ukraine.

The bloc's 27 member states have been squabbling for months over which joint initiatives to adopt, riven by the fact that energy mixes in the countries vary greatly.

While the announcement of the summit text made a public show of unity, it was clear that the coming negotiations would remain difficult. One step in that would come next week with a meeting of EU energy ministers in Luxembourg.

The summit agreement set out a "solid roadmap to keep on working on the topic of energy prices", European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen told a media conference.

The published text calls on the European Commission and EU countries in coming weeks to find ways to shield consumers from the high prices "while preserving Europe's global competitiveness... and the integrity of the Single Market".

At least 15 EU countries - more than half the bloc - are pushing for an ambitious cap on prices and are increasingly unsettled by strikes and protests over the cost of living spreading across France, Belgium and other member states.     

But the price-cap idea has met resistance from Germany, the EU's biggest economy, fearing that gas supplies could end up shifting to more lucrative markets in Asia.     

Several smaller economies are also furious that the German government will not back a gas cap and for going it alone in helping its citizens pay for high prices with a 200-billion-euro ($196-billion) spending bonanza.

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