© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis speaks during the launch of the photovoltaic park near Kozani, Greece, April 6, 2022.REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis/File photo
ATHENS (Reuters) – Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday urged Europe to quickly find a way to deal with soaring gas and electricity prices that have weighed on household incomes that would otherwise At risk of a “populist force” reemerging in Europe. mainland.
Energy prices have soared since last year, pushed even higher by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, prompting the European Union to pledge to cut its electricity consumption by two-thirds. Russia will increase imports of natural gas from other countries and develop renewable energy this year.
Greece emerged from a decade-long financial crisis when the coronavirus pandemic struck in 2020 and has spent nearly 4 billion euros ($4.36 billion) since last year to subsidize utilities, electricity and gas bills for households and businesses.
Mitsotakis called on Europe to agree on a common response to soaring energy prices.
“Putting this burden on our citizens is not sustainable, especially when we are talking about prices that do not reflect supply and demand fundamentals,” he said during a meeting with EU energy commissioner Kadri Simson in Athens.
“If we fail to fix this, the forces of populism will re-emerge in Europe,” he said, adding that the EU should consider several options, including Greece’s proposal to cap gas prices and break the gap between gas and electricity prices contact. .
European governments are rushing to build a gas reserve by next winter to deal with possible supply disruptions from Russia, which supplies 40% of the EU’s gas needs.
The European Commission introduced legislation last month that would require EU countries to increase their natural gas storage capacity to 80 percent this year.
The Greek gas network operator will receive a new floating tank in the coming weeks to increase gas storage capacity as part of a plan to secure its energy supply when Russia shuts down gas flows. Greece’s only LNG terminal, Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas said on Thursday.
The Revithoussa terminal near Athens can now store 225,000 cubic meters of natural gas.
The goal is to increase the terminal’s capacity by 150,000 cubic meters, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
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