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Italy's Draghi says EU countries could agree on joint gas procurement

·1-min read
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi holds his end-of-year news conference in Rome

ROME (Reuters) - European Union member states could agree on joint gas proRCOM EURcurement in a move aimed at safeguarding the bloc's economy from soaring prices, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Monday.

European gas prices surged to record highs last year amid tight supplies and high demand from global economies recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing governments to deploy subsidies and tax breaks to avoid high bills.

Draghi, a former European Central Bank president, told a news conference that EU leaders were discussing the issue, adding that among the options were for groups of countries to buy gas together and jointly stockpile gas reserves.

"The discussion continues, very actively, within the European Council," he said.

He also repeated a previous suggestion that companies which had benefited from spiking prices should face additional taxes.

"Those who have made huge profits from this gas price increase should be asked to share these profits with the rest of society," Draghi said.

(Reporting by Angelo Amante; Editing by Crispian Balmer)

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