Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said Friday that the European Union (EU) would hold an extraordinary energy summit if natural gas supplies to the bloc were further threatened.
Draghi, speaking to reporters at the conclusion of the EU summit, said that the reduction of gas supplies in connection with the conflict between Russia and Ukraine had caused the EU “immense difficulties.”
Draghi said if gas supplies were cut further, the EU would take action to assure uninterrupted energy supplies and tamp down inflationary pressures.
“It is necessary to take immediate action on energy prices because of inflation, which is being caused substantially because of energy,” Draghi said. “These increases are spreading and causing price increases for other items.”
In May, the latest month for which comprehensive data is available, prices rose 8.1 percent in the 19-nation euro currency zone, an increase from 7.4 percent in April. Preliminary data predicts another big jump in prices in June.
Draghi had been calling for an EU-wide formal cap on energy prices. Such a move was considered, according to draft documents, but not adopted during the two-day summit.
“I didn’t expect a precise date for a complete report on the energy question,” the prime minister said. “Things are moving, though maybe not as quickly as one would like.”