Reform and Center MPs: Energy policy agreement may emerge Tuesday

From left, Jaanus Karilaid (Center), Mart Võrklaev (Reform) and anchorman Priit Kuusk on Monday's AK.
From left, Jaanus Karilaid (Center), Mart Võrklaev (Reform) and anchorman Priit Kuusk on Monday's AK. Source: ERR

Coalition partners Reform and Center found plenty of common ground at a coalition council meeting on Monday, though did not find an overall solution they could agree upon in compensating soaring energy prices. An agreement may be reached Tuesday, leading MPs from the two parties said Monday evening, with Reform proposing price cap measures, Center sticking with calls for more support measures.

"The solutions we have proposed today have a great deal in common and we have great potential to reach an agreement on Tuesday," Mart Võrklaev, Reform's Riigikogu group chair, told ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) Monday night.

Jaanus Karilaid, Center's Riigikogu chair and also appearing on the show, said that nearly a dozen things could be agreed upon at Monday's meeting, adding that a universal support measure is the most reasonable solution in respect of the current, difficult situation.

"The bills show that we have misjudged the situation in society and that we need new aid packages," Karilaid went on, referring to the arrival of the latest electricity and gas bills for many consumers, often with figures more than double the previous month's already-high level.

Võrklaev said the issue would be further discussed on Tuesday, adding that compensation of up to 50 percent of bills for the entire populace was not realistic, though Reform's price-cap proposal might meet with support from its coalition partner, he said.

Karilaid stated that Center's €181-million aid package earlier in the crisis was reduced down to €35-40 million after negotiations with Reform, a figure insufficient for the situation today. He added too much time had been spent in debating the issue already.

A total of €170 million could not be allocated for total energy bill compensation, Võrklaev added.

The coalition council met on Monday, while Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) is set to make a political statement at 10.00 a.m. Tuesday, Estonian time.

Electricity prices have broken successive records through the autumn and winter, with the highest price-per-MWh as a daily average reaching €469 in early December. While prices have fallen back below the €200-per-MWh mark, as a daily average, since then, they remain high and are likely to for the foreseeable future.

The same can be said for natural gas and district heating.

The coalition has rolled out a support measure for low income households already.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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