EU Power Market Not Working Thanks to Putin, Von Der Leyen Says

(Bloomberg) -- The European Union’s power price-setting system is no longer functioning properly and requires changes after Russian President Vladimir Putin turned energy into a weapon, according to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

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“The electricity market is no more a functioning market because there’s one actor -- Putin -- who’s systematically trying to destroy it and to manipulate it so we really have to react to that and that’s why we’re addressing now the composition of the electricity market,” she told a press conference in Denmark on Tuesday.

The commission, the EU’s executive arm, is devising a plan to step into the energy market, intervening in the short term to dampen soaring power costs and overhauling its design in the longer term to break the link between gas and electricity prices.

The bloc’s leaders are coming under increasing pressure to act as Russia keeps limiting supplies before the start of the heating season, boosting the risk of shortages this winter.

Read more: Emergency EU Plan to Tame Power Prices Will Take Weeks to Devise

Leaders from Baltic Sea countries, who gathered in Denmark today to pledge increasing offshore wind capacity in the region, were united in calls for reducing the EU dependence on Russian fossil fuels and decoupling gas and power prices. The details on how the EU intervention would work have yet to be hashed out though, with energy ministers set to discuss options at an emergency meeting on Sept. 9 in Brussels.

“Russia has weaponized energy once again,” said Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nauseda. “I call on the European institutions to act swiftly on price-tackling measures on the European Union level.”

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