Athens (Greece), April 10: The prices of natural gas and electricity have to be decoupled to address the energy crisis fueled by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Saturday during the Delphi Economic Forum VII held in central Greece.
"We need to break the link between gas prices and electricity prices. If we don't do that, we will impose a huge economic pain on our citizens and on our businesses," the Greek leader said during a discussion with Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Secretary-General Mathias Cormann.
Mitsotakis called for a European response to this challenge, expressing hope that a decision on this can be made in May, according to Greek national broadcaster ERT. Otherwise, European countries will have to act on the national level, spending resources to control prices, he said.
Approximately 230 billion euros (250.16 billion U.S. dollars) in unallocated loans were available from the European Recovery and Resilience Fund established to heal European economies after the pandemic, he noted, Greek national news agency AMNA reported. These funds could be used to deal with the energy crisis, he argued.
On his part, Cormann stressed that in addition to steps to ensure energy security and affordable prices, a lot of work must be also done to ensure food security. He strongly urged against protectionism.
"We have got to keep markets open. We have got to continue providing the right incentives to increase production to make up for lost production so we can stabilize prices," he said, noting that otherwise there would be a risk of a food crisis in Africa.
The four-day forum, during which some 800 speakers from around the world participated, closed on Saturday. (1 euro= 1.09 U.S. dollars)