Live news: China passes Covid peak, vice-premier tells Davos gathering

Live news: China passes Covid peak, vice-premier tells Davos gathering

Europe is “solving successfully” the energy crisis following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, helped by lower demand and price intervention, said the Czech minister of industry and trade.

Jozef Síkela, who chaired the council of European energy ministers in the second half of last year, told the World Economic Forum in Davos that the continent faced difficulties from Russia’s restriction on energy supply and environmental pressures on hydro power last year.

With gas prices peaking at €350 a megawatt hour last summer, he said, “it was a combination that Europe had to solve and is solving successfully”.

European wholesale gas prices fell to €53 per MWh on Tuesday, highlighting the success of the region’s response, he said.

“Europe has shown unity under extreme pressure and in extremely short time intervened with a package of measures to calm down prices and to balance demand and supply,” Síkela said.

The difference since the summer is “like a heaven versus a hell”, he added. “OK, heaven is not as affordable as it was before [Russia’s invasion], but it is affordable.”

Fatih Birol, head of the International Energy Agency, congratulated European countries on their efforts to stem demand and get through this winter, but he cast doubt on the feeling among some European ministers that the energy crisis had been solved.

Europe had done an “excellent job”, Birol said. “The warm winter helped you a bit, you’ve got to be honest.”

Birol called for an increase in clean energy development to protect energy security in the months and years ahead.

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