France to examine gas tariff shield ‘in the coming days’ – EURACTIV.com

A tariff shield to fight rising gas prices will be examined “in the coming days”, French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, who visited GRTgaz’s dispatching site in the Île-de-France region, announced on Thursday (23 June).

Read the original French article here.

The proposed tariff shield is one of the measures Borne announced to combat rising gas prices and the EU’s dependence on Russian supplies.

This measure would be included as part of the bill aimed at protecting the purchasing power of the French to be presented to the Council of Ministers, the government’s main executive branch, on 6 July.

It would be a “reassuring message in the short term,” the Prime Minister’s office said.

The tariff shield, active since October 2021, was implemented by the government to freeze gas prices amid rising costs caused by post-pandemic recovery and pressure on gas supplies.

The government extended the tariff scheme in mid-February – just before Russia invaded Ukraine – but as the war drags on and EU-Russia trade relations continue to suffer, it doesn’t look like the need for the tariff shield will go away any time soon.

Other measures

On the French prime minister’s visit to the gas dispatching site, Borne also announced a new target to ensure gas storage sites are completely filled for the winter. Currently, storage sites are only required to fill their tanks by 85% by 1 October.

According to Borne’s cabinet, the new system “will not cost anything more” provided “the price of gas remains the same as today.”

This makes the government’s proposed measures more ambitious than the ones recently approved by lawmakers, which aim for EU gas storage facilities to be filled to 80% by 1 November, and a 90% target for 2023.

“We will have a more favourable situation in France than in other European countries,” said the prime minister’s office, citing, in particular, the country’s large storage capacities and lower gas consumption levels compared to many EU states.

By the end of the summer, France will receive enough natural gas to “ensure storage for the winter and to provide solidarity”, the prime minister’s office also said.

This means that France, which, due to its location is a perfect link for regasification terminals across the European continent, will be able to provide gas in sufficient amounts to Belgium, Switzerland and even Italy.

France is “quite resilient” and able to adapt to a reduced supply, especially since the forecasts do not point to a shortage, the PM’s office also said.

More measures

Borne’s government announced that it also plans to install a new floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Le Havre, to be connected in 2023. The aim is to “cover almost 10% of French gas consumption”.

On top of the proposed gas measures, the French government is also working on accelerating and simplifying the deployment of renewable energies. The law is “in the pipeline”, the ecological transition ministry has confirmed.

Another announcement included the aim of making so-called “energy sobriety” a part of the public discussion. To this end, the government intends to launch an awareness campaign this autumn.

The government said that it will “continue to communicate very strongly on ways to save energy,” the prime minister’s office added.

[Edited by Nathalie Weatherald]

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