Italy’s Draghi slams Berlin over go-it-alone approach on gas

EuroActiv Politico News

The outgoing government in Rome criticized Berlin’s decision to cap the price of gas for domestic consumers while taking on €200 billion in fresh debt.

“We can’t divide ourselves according to our fiscal room for maneuver, we need solidarity,” Prime Minister Mario Draghi said late Thursday, according to Italian news agency ANSA.

“No EU member state can offer effective solutions in the long term by going it alone if we are lacking a common strategy, not even those that appear less vulnerable from a financial standpoint,” he said.

The criticism comes on the eve of a meeting of EU energy ministers in Brussels at which they are set to discuss solutions to the energy price crisis. Italy, along with 14 other countries, has pushed for a price cap on all EU gas imports, something that Berlin opposes, fearful that it would endanger security of supply by incentivizing gas suppliers to seek a higher price elsewhere.

The European Commission has sided with Berlin, and dragged its feet in producing proposals on how an EU price on gap might work — something that EU heads of state and government asked for in March — and drawing a backlash from its proponents.

“The EU’s answer must reduce costs for households and businesses, and avoid market distortions. We must show ourselves to be united, determined, as in our support for Ukraine,” Draghi said.

EU heads of state and government are likely to discuss the issue at a summit in Prague next Friday.