The Kremlin behaved “like a drug dealer” when it comes to Europe’s gas supplies, according to Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
“Initially the gas [from Russia] was supposed to be very cheap, but the real price of the gas we now know. The real price of the gas is also the blood of soldiers and people, children and women in Ukraine and the real price of gas is the current harsh winter coming in Europe,” he said.
The Kremlin did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Russia halted gas flows to Europe last month, sparking the region’s biggest energy crisis in decades.
Speaking to CNBC’s Charlotte Reed in an exclusive interview Thursday, Morawiecki said Europe’s current energy issues were “consequences of a very wrong policy, disastrous policy, which was led by Germany.”
The Polish leader made the comments in Prague as 44 European leaders met to discuss the war in Ukraine and Europe’s energy crisis. It is the first meeting of a new group called the European Political Community.
“Lack of gas, very expensive prices of gas and electricity all over Europe – this is the real price of the agreement between Germany and Russia,” Morawiecki said.
Poland, along with Belgium, Italy and Greece, has drafted a plan for a gas “price corridor” across Europe in an attempt to bring down soaring prices.
The front-month gas price at the Dutch TTF hub, a European benchmark, was trading around 160 euros ($156) per megawatt hour Friday. That’s over four times higher than a year ago, but off its peak of close to 350 euros in late August.
The gas price corridor, “should act as a circuit breaker and disincentive to speculation. It is not meant to suppress prices at an artificially low level,” according to the draft proposal, as reported by Reuters.
Other countries, including Germany and the Netherlands, are thought to oppose the plan, warning that capping prices could have negative impacts on energy security.
EU leaders are due to consider possible caps to gas prices at the Prague summit Friday.
“This is our collective problem,” Morawiecki said. “It cannot be so, that one country, which is the richest and the most developed in Europe like Germany … can block everything which is now happening.”
“We don’t want to be patronised by some countries which then behave in a completely different way than they were expected to do just before,” he added.
Also speaking in Prague, EU Parliament President Roberta Metsola said the bloc needed to provide a united response to the energy crisis.
“There is need for an EU-wide gas price cap,” Metsola said.
She said that EU member states could be given more time if necessary, but that it was important for countries not to “outbid each other.”
“I think this is the way to be able to bring the prices down and stop speculation, and at the end of the day show Putin he’s not the one to dictate to us who pays and how we pay our bills,” she added.