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A mandatory minimum gas reserve is a step towards lower electricity bills, say S&Ds


24 Mar 2022



The Socialists and Democrats welcome the European Commission’s decision for a mandatory minimum 80% gas storage level at the beginning of this winter and increasing it to 90% as of 2023. The S&D Group find this percentage as the absolute minimum and urges the member states not to lower it.

Mohammed Chahim MEP, S&D vice-president responsible for the energy aspects of the Green Deal, said:

“A mandatory minimum level at the beginning of every winter is indeed an essential step, but it is not enough. We also need a joint procurement system to purchase common gas stocks and to make sure that member states without enough storage capacity have the instruments to benefit from common strategic reserves. To do that, we need to complete and improve our interconnections. Hence, investments and accelerated building work in infrastructure are key, especially taking into account the ongoing war in Ukraine.

“I am satisfied that the European Commission is responding to this tremendous challenge. Our group now calls on the member states to show ambition as well. We need to accelerate our green transition and continue working on a mandatory minimum level of gas in storage facilities. 80% is good, but 90% would be even better already from this year.”

Dan Nica MEP, S&D spokesperson in the European Parliament’s committee on industry, research and energy, said:

“It is good news that the European Commission has put something very concrete on the table. Yet, I have to remind them we started last winter’s season with gas storage capacity at only 75% full. Now this proposal of the mandatory 80% will have to be debated and approved by the member states, and us, in the European Parliament. I urge not to lower the proposed 80% mandatory minimum storage throughout the EU. On this depends whether our citizens will be suffering from the cold in winter, and will our businesses, especially the small and medium ones, suffer under the unbearable bills for electricity for production.

“The S&D Group also calls for clear rules and guarantees on how to define a significant position in the energy market. We cannot leave the question on possible abuse of dominant positions in the energy market unanswered. I am sure Commissioner Simson did not forget about our request to ensure the correct application of competition rules on the energy market. Our group welcomes the much necessary measure to mitigate the negative impact of high electricity bills to consumers, such as tax rebates, capping electricity prices, or limiting returns of certain market players. I welcome that the European Commission is putting a lot of effort into responding to this tremendous challenge and I hope the member states will also contribute to the constructive debate on a viable solution for our citizens.”