Taoiseach Micheál Martin is joining other EU leaders at a summit in Prague, which will be dominated by discussions on how to reduce the price of gas after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent energy crisis.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will outline detailed proposals on potential price caps and the need to negotiate long term contracts with non-Russian gas suppliers.
Last night, EU and other European leaders concluded the inaugural gathering of the so-called European Political Community, a new platform to bring together 44 continental leaders to discuss the challenges of the age.
Observers have regarded it as a relative success, with the most notable moment being an apparently warm bilateral between French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Liz Truss.
Both committed to cooperating more closely on nuclear energy and combatting irregular migration across the English Channel.
Today’s informal summit will be a more bruising affair. Member states are still divided over how to reduce soaring energy bills following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Some leaders have challenged Germany’s decision to spend €200 billion to cushion consumers and businesses, much more than many countries can afford.
Ms von der Leyen, the commission president, will outline a combination of measures: lowering the price of gas through long term contracts with suppliers like Norway and the United States; a temporary ceiling on the price of gas used to produce electricity combined with targets to reduce consumption; and the idea of member states jointly purchasing gas for storage, so as to avoid outbidding each other.
There is a lot to get through, and leaders will meet again in Brussels in two weeks’ time.