A group of five EU countries, including Spain, France, the Czech Republic, Romania and Greece, called for investigation into the record-high gas prices in a common statement released on Tuesday.
"Price of gas and wholesale prices of electricity have dramatically increased in the last months. It is a considerable and increasing burden for households and our companies, with a particularly intense impact on the most vulnerable and our SMEs," the statement said.
The statement is signed by Spanish First Vice-President and Minister for the Economy and Digital Transformation Nadia Calvino, French Minister for the Economy, Finance and the Recovery Bruno Le Maire, Czech Minister of Finance Alena Schillerova, Greek Minister of Finance Christos Staikouras, and Romanian Minister of Finance Dan Vilceanu.
The signatory countries urged for a common approach at the European level, adding that "We need a European policy toolkit to coordinate national responses to immediately react to dramatic price surges."
"Second, regarding gas, the functioning of the European gas market should be investigated to understand why current gas contracts have been insufficient," it noted.
The document also suggested building common guidelines on gas storage in order to mitigate and smooth price increases and better coordination on gas purchases to increase bargaining power.
Improvement of wholesale electricity market
The countries also noted the need to reform the wholesale electricity market, stressing electricity market's many advantages such as securing energy supplies at all times, for all European countries.
"But it needs to be improved to better establish a link between the price paid by the consumers, and the average production cost of electricity in national production mixes. This is all the more important as decarbonisation will increase the use of electricity in our economy," the document said.
The countries also suggested that the EU should focus on achieving energy independence by investing in the diversification of its energy supply and reduce European dependency on gas exporting countries as fast as possible.
"The ETS (Emissions Trading System) is essential to give an explicit price to carbon and trigger energy transition. Therefore, to give public and private stakeholders an opportunity to plan ahead and shift their investments to low-carbon activities, we need to ensure a more predictable carbon price and avoid excessive volatility," it concluded.