Today’s informal meeting of the EU’s energy ministers in Stockholm will focus on further steps for reforming the common energy market. It is important to proceed step by step, starting with a small, feasible reform in the short term. This includes adopting measures that will protect consumers against unexpected rises in energy prices and provide sufficient market incentives for renewable energy. The European Commission completed the public consultation process on this subject in mid-February and will table a legislative proposal by mid-March. The Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU is seeking to achieve agreement in the first half of 2023. In addition, the ministers will look at how the European electricity market design can be further reformed in the long term – including preparatory steps and analyses – in order to pave the way for a carbon-neutral electricity supply – a key step towards achieving the European Union’s climate targets and implementing the Paris Agreement.

State Secretary Sven Giegold said: “Thanks to the unprecedented level of cooperation in the internal energy market, we have succeeded in stabilising the situation this winter by all pulling hard together. We must not let up in our efforts but rather continue to press vigorously ahead and draw the right conclusions from this last year of crisis. The Federal Government is advocating a two-stage approach to electricity market reform. The simpler reform steps of ensuring more price stability and better market integration in Europe need to be implemented right away. The more in-depth and structural electricity market reforms can provide considerable added benefit, but can also lead to greater fallout if we go about them the wrong way. We therefore need to take the necessary time for a large and comprehensive reform and undertake detailed analyses. The reforms need to prepare the European electricity market for the future. And the future will mean a renewables-based climate neutral electricity system. The market signals need to continue to reach all market participants. We must not revert to fully regulated markets, not even for nuclear energy. Any fundamental structural reform must provide better incentives for investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and storage. The low prices for new wind and solar installations need to result more quickly in lower prices for the industrial sector and consumers.”

Another item on the ministers’ agenda today is ensuring a secure supply of energy for next winter and taking the necessary provisions for this.

State Secretary Sven Giegold said: “In the crisis year of 2022, the EU demonstrated considerable unity. By working together, we were able to ensure a secure supply of energy for our citizens and the
industrial sector. However, we must not let ourselves be fooled by the impression that the worst is behind us. We need to continue to press vigorously ahead with our work. We need to continue to watch and reduce our energy consumption and save even more energy. This will ensure that our storage facilities are sufficiently filled next winter and prices will not once again spiral out of control. The Federal Government is therefore advocating ambitious targets for reducing gas demand at European level.”